Newfoundland’s Alex Newhook is heading to a place where few fellow islanders have been before — the NHL Stanley Cup final.
The Colorado Avalanche — who drafted Newhook 16th overall in 2019 — defeated the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 in overtime Monday night to complete a series sweep and move on to the biggest stage in professional hockey.
The St. John’s star had 33 points in 71 games with the Avalanche during the regular season and has two points in six playoff games so far this year.
At home in Newfoundland, the Newhook family has been closely following the 21-year-old’s second run at hockey’s biggest prize. Last year, the Avalanche were defeated in the Western Conference semifinals, with Newhook chipping in a goal — his first NHL marker — and an assist over eight playoff games.
“I’ve been very excited. I’ve been watching every game, kind of hoping, hoping, hoping, and their team really pulled it off last night,” Paula Newhook, Alex’s mother, said Tuesday.
“It’s very jittery over here. It’s super exciting.”
Weekend matches draw more of a crowd due to the 3½-hour time difference from games played out west, said Paula. Monday night’s game was watched by a small but loyal fanbase of family members whose focus was on No. 18 and an Avalanche win that would bring the club back to the final for the first time since 2001.
Paula said neither she, nor Alex, are getting ahead of themselves as Colorado is still four wins away from hoisting Stanley’s mug, but they are taking at least a day to celebrate before the team gets back to work, preparing to face either the New York Rangers or Tampa Bay Lightning, who are still battling it out in the Eastern Conference final.
The Stanley Cup final might not start for another week and a half, depending on how long the Lightning-Rangers series goes. The Rangers are up 2-1 in the series, and Game 7, if needed, is scheduled for June 14.
“As the young boy from Newfoundland I don’t think he ever would have expected in his rookie year to be heading to the Stanley Cup finals,” Newhook said. Alex is considered to be in his rookie season because he played fewer than 25 games in 2020-21.
“He’s elated and just looking forward to the next round. He meditates a lot, he’s very focused, he sort of has his game day routine.”
Hitting the road, destination unknown
The family has traveled to see Alex’s games in the big leagues before but haven’t been to a playoff game yet this year. With the Avs now making it to the final, the Newhooks are on standby, ready to hit the road at a moment’s notice to see Alex fight for Stanley Cup supremacy.
While the Newhooks don’t know yet if that trip will be to the Big Apple or Tampa, Paula jokes about hoping to spend a few days on the beaches of Florida. She said the family might also catch games in Colorado.
Alex would be the third Newfoundlander to win the Cup if Colorado can pull together four wins in the final. Daniel Cleary of Harbor Grace won with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008 and Michael Ryder of Bonavista won with the Boston Bruins in 2011.
“It’s so surreal to even think that that’s a possibility. [We’re] trying to go day by day,” said Paula.
“I can’t even imagine how Alex is feeling this morning.… It’d be so exciting for the family — we’d try to get as many people as we could to watch those games. For the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, I can’t get over the amount of support we have had as a family.”
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