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

Chemainus Secondary School 2021 graduate Nina Bumstead. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Grad ceremony proceeds, with a twist

Red carpet outside works out well for Chemainus Secondary’s Class of 2021

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

Chemainus street signs now contain Hul’qumi’num translations, like this one at the corner of Willow and Legion Streets. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Street signs go up in the Hul’qumi’num language

Chemainus intersections feature direct translations

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

CVRD to increase enforcement after audits reveal that curb-side recycling contamination in the district is well above acceptable limits. (File photo)
CVRD reports contamination in recyclables well above acceptable levels

Increased enforcement planned starting this summer

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

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

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Bernadette Jordan addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on January 14, 2019. Jordan says the government will provide $2 million to allow First Nations to continue to strengthen the marine safety system across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
First Nations receive federal funds to purchase marine rescue boats

Quatsino, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo First Nation’s among eight across Canada to receive funding

Most Read