2020-21 Season

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2020-21 Season

Postby claver2010 on Tue Nov 10, 2020 9:04 am

big article on newhook:

https://theathletic.com/2182191/2020/11 ... ry=newhook

Alex Newhook plans to leave Chestnut Hill, Mass., for Canada on Friday so he can be an active participant throughout Hockey Canada’s national junior team selection camp.The end-all goal for the Boston College sophomore forward is that maybe this camp ends differently compared to what happened a year ago. Newhook presented his case but was ultimately omitted from the roster that led to Canada its 18th World Junior Championship gold medal.

Much has changed since then. Newhook used the second half of his freshman season to further establish himself as the nation’s premier first-year player. There was enough evidence to suggest the Eagles could contend for a national title, with Newhook playing a major role. Those plans changed once the NCAA canceled the rest of the collegiate hockey season because of COVID-19. But with college hockey now a step closer to returning Newhook is once again in the discussion about front runners. On Friday, Hockey East announced a Nov. 20 return to play date, but no further scheduling information was given.

A Colorado Avalanche prospect who just happens to be a sophomore and a Hobey Baker favorite for a Hockey East team trying to win a national championship. Sounds familiar.

“It’s really exciting to be in that category,” Newhook said of the early preseason talk around BC. “It’s early on and you’re definitely taught to hold it in until the season starts. You want to be training for games and practicing to win the games. But you have to put the work in at practice. Especially when you are doing it consistently for six or seven months or whatever it has been since we last played. My goal is to bring that caliber of play into whenever the college hockey season starts this year.”

Newhook is not just another NHL prospect. He is one of the most promising prospects for a Stanley Cup contender. The expectation is that he could sign his entry-level contract with the Avalanche once BC’s season is over. It is another reason why this year is considered to be crucial in terms of his development. Furthermore, it reinforces why there were questions about if the Avs would consider sending Newhook to Europe or to play juniors in the event the college hockey season never launched.

The 19-year-old two-way forward said there were conversations about that path. He said there were some possibilities when it came to playing overseas. More than if it was decided he go the junior route. If he wanted to maintain his collegiate eligibility, he could have potentially returned to the BCHL. Newhook played in that league with the Victoria Grizzlies before he was selected 16th in the 2019 NHL Draft. That is what the Avalanche did with Cornell sophomore Matthew Stienburg. Newhook also could have gone to the QMJHL, which is dealing with its own issues related to COVID-19.

Europe would have hypothetically offered Newhook a chance at more playing time against older competition. But he said his mindset never changed when it came to staying at Boston College in advance of whenever the college hockey season would start. Certain college programs play for a good season. Perhaps even an opportunity of earning an NCAA Tournament bid.

Boston College is not one of those programs. The expectation at BC is to win, win Hockey East, be a high seed in the NCAA Tournament and win the whole thing as there are several NHL Draft picks in the Eagles’ assembly line.

“I am very fortunate to have their support in that regard,” Newhook said of the Avalanche when it came to him staying in college. “Another year of college was best suited for me and for my path. Even with the pro season being on hold, there is real room to make that jump right now. I am staying with the process and when the time comes, that decision will be made.”

Practices have offered Boston College coach Jerry York and his coaching staff more insight into Newhook, who opted to stay in Massachusetts instead of going home for the summer because he was committed to getting better. York offers the details that most want to hear. How Newhook looks faster. How he appears more confident. How the same need to be great has surged to another level.

Yet what stands out most to York is the fact Newhook already has a commanding presence. Growth and maturity are often interchangeable terms. But respect is given any time Newhook walks into a building, a rink or even the dressing room.

“He’s got great leadership skills and a great head on his shoulders and is certainly aware of the noise level he deserves,” York said. “Everyone feels he is an outstanding player who conducts himself in that manner and conducts himself well in the choices he makes. As the season goes on and he participates in games, the other teams will try to shut him down. We have a number of players who have been brought in and we have guys on the team who are going through that now.”

What makes Chestnut Hill such an important place for the Avalanche is the fact they have three prospects all playing at BC. Newhook and defenseman Drew Helleson, who was the team’s second-round pick in 2019, are joined by freshman forward Colby Ambrosio, a fourth-round pick in 2020.

Helleson’s development has been a bit more quiet compared to Newhook. Although, York makes it sound like Helleson could be carving out a greater place for himself within the Eagles’ setup.

Any and every conversation with Helleson starts with his size. That’s what happens when you stand 6-foot-3 and weigh 195 pounds. York said Helleson has become stronger and his once slender build is starting to resemble what happens with a full year of collegiate workouts. But the other item that York continually raves about is what Helleson has done to improve his skating.

The other factor that could raise more awareness for Helleson is if he made USA Hockey’s final roster for the world juniors, as he was also invited to their camp.

“We were very excited because when we recruited him, we saw a very talented player who was smart with a good hockey skill set,” York said. “He’s becoming a man now and everything he has done is enhanced. His shooting ability is enhanced. His board work is enhanced. He is developing into a player and all facets of his game are getting better every week. I look at the 24 or 25 players we have on the ice and he’s the one who stands out the most in terms of the difference a year has made.”

Granted, it was not the word of a restaurant owner that led BC to Ambrosio. Rather, it was a phone call York received from Brooks Orpik’s father. Orpik starred at BC for three seasons before playing in the NHL. His father saw Ambrosio play in the Buffalo-Niagara region and passed along the tip.

“His speed is very good,” York said. “We got to get him to use his speed more on the forecheck. Driving to the net more. Just playing with the type of speed he is capable of playing at. He’s got great edges and great shift in his skating. He can go from three quarters to full in one step. He’s going to be a really good player. These are good draft picks the Avs keep making.”

Newhook and Helleson started bonding more than a year ago back in Vancouver when the Avalanche made it clear those two were part of their future plans. Now the bonding has started with Ambrosio. Newhook said they first started talking a year ago because he wanted another fellow Canadian to feel welcomed.

But to see Ambrosio get drafted by the Avalanche? Yeah. It made that need to strengthen their relationship even greater.

“It is more than just being brothers on a team. It’s sharing the same goal,” Newhook said. “Everyone has a goal of being a professional hockey player. But for all of us to play this game and do it for the same NHL club makes it much cooler knowing we are all pushing for the same thing.”

This is just one conversation about the Avalanche’s 2020 draft class that excites Newhook. Ask him about Justin Barron. He won’t stop talking.

Know this. Atlantic Canada is a small community. If you’re good at hockey you’re likely going to cross paths with other stars in the region. That is exactly what happened as it relates to Barron and Newhook. Barron is the latest Avalanche player and/or prospect from Nova Scotia. Yet the proximity of Newfoundland and Labrador means he was able to establish an early connection with future teammates like Newhook and Stienburg.

Newhook can almost be heard smiling over a 25-minute phone conversation when talking about his boy “Bear” getting drafted. This was more than seeing a friend get picked. It was like having a family member join another family. The connections continue as Barron’s older brother, Morgan, went to the same prep school as Newhook, and Morgan was the captain at Cornell when Stienburg was a freshman.

“I was jumping out of my seat when I saw Bear get drafted,” Newhook said. “We’ve been really close for a long time. It’s pretty cool and weird how we are all in the same spot and it’s awesome. I could not be more happy for him. He’s a steal at that spot. He definitely should have gone higher but I am not complaining.”

Someone who can be instant friends with his teammates. Who commands respect in a room. Throw in the fact he got stronger and became a sharper two-way player.

Could these all be attributes lead to Newhook making Canada’s final roster for a World Junior Championship being held on home soil?

Doing so would heighten the expectations. It could also give the Avalanche the honor of potentially seeing three prospects represent Canada, considering Barron and Bowen Byram were also invited to the camp. Byram was part of last year’s team that won gold.

“For me, (the world juniors) is the only thing that has been set in stone this whole time,” Newhook said. “With everything not being certain in the college season and in the pro season and juniors and whatever else, the world juniors has always been set to go. This is something I have had set in my mind for a long time. Especially when you add how much I want to be there because of last year. I am excited to get back there and whatever the process may be, I am excited to go through it and get there.”
Bush, George H W
Cosby, Bill
Disick, Scott
Flair, Ric
Griffin, Kathy
Khamenei, Ali
McCain, John
Pele
Soros, George
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claver2010
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Re: 2020-21 Season

Postby claver2010 on Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:23 pm

unh might have the wu flu so season opener postponed
Bush, George H W
Cosby, Bill
Disick, Scott
Flair, Ric
Griffin, Kathy
Khamenei, Ali
McCain, John
Pele
Soros, George
User avatar
claver2010
Gasson Hall
 
Posts: 18880
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 5:55 pm
Karma: 3202


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