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Grizzlies’ star rookie Newhook living up to expectations

MARIO ANNICCHIARICO / TIMES COLONIST
SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 10:18 PM

It seems that 16-year-old rookie Alex Newhook’s goal of putting up 50 points in his first B.C. Hockey League season may be just a tad underestimated.

Already at 10 points (one goal and nine assists) in six games, the Newfoundland native is coming off league player of the week honours as he collected three assists in each of the two victories at last weekend’s BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.

He and the rest of the Victoria Grizzlies (4-2) finally get to play their first home game of the season tonight when the Vernon Vipers (4-1-0-1) come calling at 7 at The Q Centre.

“I’m not too worried about it [the statistics]. I’m just going to keep playing the way I am and, hopefully, it keeps going and I can help the team in any way I can. I think the points will just come with that,” he said.

At this pace he’ll easily leap the mark he set out to before the season started.

“We’ll see,” he said with a wry smile.

Obviously, the highly touted youngster, who has already committed to Boston College of the NCAA for the fall of 2019, isn’t about to make any bold predictions, but he’s well on his way to a solid campaign and has adjusted well to competing against older opposition.

“I haven’t found it too bad,” he said of that adjustment. “Honestly, it’s a lot faster than last year or anywhere else I’ve played. I think I’ve settled into it now and it’s just a matter of playing my game and sticking to that, and not getting away from it. That’s what’s important.”

Projected to be a first-round NHL draft pick in two years, Newhook is focused on the now, which includes a much anticipated home-opener.

“I think we’re excited more than anything,” he said. “Obviously, there’s a little bit of nerves because we’re playing at home for the first time, but we’re ready for it. I think the guys are ready for a weekend at home after being away the first fwe weekends. We’re ready for war with Vernon and hopefully we’ll win that one.”

That’s where the veterans of the club will come in, helping the likes of Newhook, Jacson Alexander and the rest of the rookies settle in for what they hope will be a big crowd.

“I think everyone is super excited for it. I know I am,” said Grizzlies captain Lucas Clark. “All the boys keep talking about it, but we just have to keep our minds right and, hopefully, it goes well.

“By the sounds of it, we should have a pretty good crowd, that’s another big reason to make it a good game to make sure they keep coming back and supporting.”

The first few shifts will be telling as the team settles into its comfy confines.

“Obviously, we have guys like Newhook and Alexander, who haven’t been through it yet, but they’ve adjusted very well so far,” said Clark, who is off to a good start with two goals and four assists in five games. He is also on a four-game point streak after being blanked in his first outing after missing Game 1 with an injury.

“Playing in your home barn is a bit different, right. You’ve got the crowd on your side and you’ve got the energy, so if you don’t play with energy you’re not going to get energy from the crowd. Your play will determine how the crowd is going to react and how team success is going to happen.”

The Grizzlies are also home on Saturday night when the Langley Rivermen pay a visit to The Q Centre.

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