Victoria Grizzlies forward Alex Newhook was selected 16th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche.

The 18-year-old came into the draft ranked as the 13th North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. He led the BCHL in scoring this season with 102 points and took home the league’s MVP award.

Although it took until Colorado’s second pick of the draft for them to select him, Newhook wasn’t entirely surprise it was the Avs who snapped him up.

“Throughout the year, I always had a connection with [the Avalanche],” he said. “I felt like it could be a fit and I’m really happy to be a part of the Avalanche family.”

Following his Rookie of the Year campaign with the Grizzlies in 2017-18, it was thought that he might leave the BCHL last offseason to join the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), who held his CHL rights. Obviously, Newhook chose to remain in Victoria for his draft year and that choice ultimately paid off.

“It was a tough decision with Halifax having the Memorial Cup and them being such a great organization,” he said. “But, I was committed to play with the Grizzlies and do as much as I could to help our team win there. Going back and being the captain and being part of that group there was something that meant a lot and was important to me. It was a great two years and I’m very happy with my decision.”

Including himself, Newhook was a part of a Grizzlies team this year that have four players that could be drafted when all is said and done. His linemate Alexander Campbell and defencemen Jeremie Bucheler and Carter Berger are all hoping to hear their names called tomorrow morning when rounds two to seven take place.

Newhook sees this as an indication of the quality of the Grizzlies program and, by extension, the entire BCHL.

“I think it says a lot [about our program in Victoria],” said Newhook. “You look at Junior A programs across Canada, it’s not very often that you get four guys that could possibly be drafted to the NHL.

“I’m really hoping for the best for those guys tomorrow and I think they all deserve to get drafted.”

Newhook started his playing career in his hometown of St. John’s, N.F., then moved to Ontario at the age of 14 and eventually ended up in Victoria to play in the BCHL. On this monumental day, he was able to reflect on his long and winding path to the NHL.

“It’s been an amazing journey to be able to live in three places already at the age of 18. It’s been awesome for me as a person and as a player.”

Newhook had plenty of support in the arena with him tonight, not only from friends and family that made the trip from Newfoundland, but also from a lot of his Grizzlies teammates.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Newhook. “You have the guys here from Victoria that you shared all those memories with throughout the year. For them to want to be here so badly and support me, I it means a lot.”