Former Victoria Grizzlies captain Alex Newhook during Team Canada selection camp in Red Deer. Newhook will play forward for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. (Hockey Canada/Rob Wallator)

Former Victoria Grizzlies captain Alex Newhook during Team Canada selection camp in Red Deer. Newhook will play forward for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. (Hockey Canada/Rob Wallator)

Former Victoria hockey star Alex Newhook cracks Team Canada

After a month in Red Deer, Newhook ready for World Juniors

In what has essentially been a month-long quarantine in Red Deer, Alta., former Victoria Grizzlies star Alex Newhook has had to find many ways to kill time.

And it doesn’t include the go-to teenage time burner of video games.

“Not for me, not a big video games guy. I hear the other guys shouting and screaming [from their rooms],” said the first-round draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.

This past month has been the latest test for Newhook, whose patience and hard work paid off on Friday as the 19-year-old was selected to Team Canada’s 2021 World Junior Championships team that will play in Edmonton. The team remains in Red Deer but will head to Edmonton soon for exhibition games and Christmas Day until Jan. 5.

Newhook played for the Grizzlies from 2017 to 2019. In 2017-18 he won BCHL rookie of the year. In 2018-19 he served as the Grizzlies captain and led the BCHL in scoring with 28 goals and 102 points in 53 games. Colorado then picked him 16th overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

West Shore’s Dylan Garand, who plays goalie for the Kamloops Blazers, also made Team Canada.

READ ALSO: Newhook heads to worlds as BCHL MVP, top scorer

The World Juniors tournament itself is on thin ice as Hockey Canada had two players test positive and sent five home as “unfit” to play. The Swedish camp sent away four players for testing positive for COVID-19, the U.S.A. team three players and Germany two players. Even the International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel tested positive this week.

“In Red Deer the bubble is confined and we’re not taking any chances with the scare we had. We travel to Edmonton on Sunday, then we isolate for five days again. Then the bubble is similar to what the NHL did for the playoffs,” Newhook said.

With everyone under mandatory two-week quarantine and further isolation in Edmonton, tournament organizers believe the event will go on.

It makes for a very happy Newhook who was cut from training camp ahead of last year’s tournament, despite scoring the only goal in an exhibition game against U-Sports all-star players.

“The feeling is crazy. It’s a lot of emotions going through the head and a lot of excitement. It’s been a long year, I’m ready to go and ready to defend the gold medal,” Newhook said.

The bitterness of being cut from last year’s team – and then watching that team win gold – was only fuel for Newhook. He used it as further motivation and turned in a monster rookie season as an 18-year-old with Boston College in the NCAA. He ended the year as Boston College’s top scorer with 19 goals and 23 assists for 42 points in 34 games.

“Last year was a learning experience and I was definitely disappointed. Looking back, it helped me find a new gear with Boston College,” he said.

READ ALSO: Five Victoria Grizzlies players invited to World Juniors selection camp

Newhook has represented Canada regionally and nationally for most of his teenage life, having played at the U17 national championships and at the U18 and World Junior A championships.

He left Boston and arrived in Red Deer about a month ago and went straight into isolation and quarantine. Just when they thought they’d get some freedom everything was shut down again as Team Canada invites tested positive.

“It was tough. I’ve done some Zoom workouts. The team set up bikes in the room, and we have social hours and team meetings that keep us busy,” Newhook said.

As for food, it’s all hotel room service. Three meals a day and a snack.

On the ice, Newhook has been taking line rushes with Dylan Holloway (an Edmonton Oilers first-round pick) of University of Wisconsin, who is the only other NCAA player to make the cut, and Jakob Pelletier (a Calgary Flames first-round pick) of Val-d’Or in the Quebec major-junior league.

“I know most of the guys from over the years, having been around the Hockey Canada programs of excellence,” Newhook said.

Canada opens the 2021 World Junior Championship on Dec. 26 against Germany at 3 p.m. PST. All games are broadcast on TSN.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

hockey

Just Posted

Craft Brewing and Malting program student Ellie Hadley plans to use her newfound skills and knowledge to set up a distillery in Port Alberni. (PHOTO COURTESY LEE SIMMONS)
Something’s brewing with North Island College’s newest program

Port Alberni grad Ellie Hadley hopes to turn new skills into thriving business

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van burst into flames just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Kids from a MOSS Sailing Camp sail just off Canal Waterfront Park in Alberni Inlet during a day camp in August 2014. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
MOSS Sailing camps return to Alberni Valley

One-week camps designed for kids will take place at Sproat Lake

Robert Gunn of Alberni Climate Action loads garbage discovered in the Alberni Inlet around Cous Creek into his canoe during a recent ocean shoreline cleanup. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Alberni Climate Action group creates NIC scholarship

Students attending college full time may apply through NIC

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens after accident at Taylor River Flats

Multi-vehicle crash had closed highway to west coast

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Photos displayed at a vigil for former Nanaimo outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found June 3 and whose death RCMP are investigating as a homicide. (News Bulletin photo)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read