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Grizzlies’ Newhook doing his part as Canada chases gold at U-18 world championship

Alex Newhook has eight points in five games for Team Canada.

Brian Drewry / Times Colonist
APRIL 26, 2019 10:02 PM

Alex Newhook is a long way from home — from his real home in St. John’s, N.L., and his secondary home in Victoria where he has spent the past two seasons playing in the B.C. Hockey League for the Grizzlies.

But the 18-year-old rising star wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s in Europe for the first time and playing for Canada at a world championship.

“It’s been a blast so far, everything I dreamed about,” Newhook said Friday by phone as Team Canada enjoyed an off day at the IIHF U-18 World Championship in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, before they take on the host team today in the semifinals. The United States, led by projected No. 1 overall NHL draft pick Jack Hughes, and Russia square off in the other semifinal.

“Sweden is a great country with great food and beautiful scenery and we’re in the semifinals so it’s all good.”

Newhook, who led the BCHL in scoring in both the regular season and the playoffs, has had a an impressive tournament so far, leading Canada in scoring in the group stage with four goals and four assists in four games, but he and his teammates hit a slight bump in the road in Wednesday’s quarter-final against Latvia. They picked up a 3-1 win to improve to 5-0 in the tournament but Newhook was held off the scoresheet for the first time in the tournament and the Canadians needed an empty-net goal to secure the win over the pesky Latvians.

“We’re not going to dwell on the Latvian game too much,” said Newhook.

“We took them a little lightly, but we a had a good round robin and it’s all about movin’ on so we’re focused on Sweden now and looking forward to that challenge.”

Playing the host team in what should be a packed arena will definitely be a challenge for Canada. Their round-robin games and the quarter-final were in the smaller city of Umea and the crowds were sparse.

“It was a little odd playing the games with not many people there but we expected that, being from far away and most of the fans here focused on the Swedish team,” added Newhook.

“But now we get to play in front of a big crowd and we’re all excited about that. It should be a lot of fun.”

Newhook, rated No. 13 among North American skaters for June’s NHL draft in Vancouver, is playing on a line with a pair of Western Hockey Leaguers who are also expected to go early in the first round of the draft. Peyton Krebs of the Winnipeg Ice centres Newhook and Dylan Cousins of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

“They’ve been great to play with and we’ve had some success so it’s been fun. They’re both fast skaters and great with the puck so it’s been easy to play with them.”

While Newhook is focused on the Swedes, he has also been busy trying to keep up with his schooling as he nears graduation at Belmont Secondary before moving on to NCAA hockey in the fall at Boston College.

“Ya, I got homework here but Hockey Canada gives us study sessions so we have time to focus on our school work which is good.”

So he shouldn’t miss a beat in class next week when he’s back hitting the books at Belmont.

“Back Monday night and school on Tuesday so back to the routine,” he laughed.

A routine that’s going to include, prom, graduation ceremonies, the draft combine and NHL draft weekend.

“It’ll be a busy time but also a lot fun so I’m looking forward to it.”

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