Alex Smith has always been a good skater and possessing that ability, he says, allows him to “open the ice a bit and drag a couple guys towards me.”
His vision to find open guys is how he played for the Foothills Bisons program, while growing up in High River, Alberta. He’s always considered himself a playmaker.
During the Sicamous Eagles training camp he put that speed on display. In the KIJHL Notebook two weeks ago, Assistant Coach and Assistant General Manager Rob Sutherland said Smith’s skating ability jumped out.
“He has a nice long stride. He can get moving really quick,” said Sutherland.
Smith, who leads the Eagles with 13 goals in 30 games, said he feels he has performed pretty well after a slow start because he hadn’t played a lot of hockey once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Getting comfortable with his new teammates also helped. What Smith has liked about his play is that he is more confident shooting the puck. He had his first two-goal game on Jan. 15 against the Chase Heat.
“This year I have noticed that my shooting capabilities have been way stronger and I’ve been getting more scoring opportunities and capitalizing on those,” said Smith, who has 16 points. “I have focused on shooting to score in practice and mentally being more confident on the ice. Being confident in your abilities.”
He’s tied for ninth among Kootenay International Junior Hockey League rookies in goals with Judah Makway of the Beaver Valley Nitehawks. (Note: Former Princeton Posse rookie sniper Jaden Fodchuk, now with the BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks, still appears on the list of rookie point leaders)
Smith, who turned 19 on August 5, said the biggest adjustment to the KIJHL was moving away from home and adapting to living alone in a different environment. It took Smith about a month to get familiar with his teammate, which has made a difference.
A new adjustment came earlier this month when the Eagles made personnel changes, bringing in a new Head Coach in Nick Deschenes. Smith is motivated to continue improving in all areas and adjusting to the new system put in place.
“Coach Nick has brought a lot of intensity and new energy to the team,” he said. “Him and (new General Manager) Tyler Moore have come in and believed in us and wanted to turn things around. They have been a great help in our recent success.”