Whenever a player gets to sign his first NHL contract, it is a hectic and exciting time in their lives and it has been no different for Alex Newhook.
The forward's sophomore season at Boston College concluded on Sunday with a 4-1 loss to St. Cloud State and he signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.
"It's been a crazy few days," Newhook reflected. "As soon as the game is over and getting in contact with Colorado and talks of signing, so it's been a crazy few hours here, a few days, but really excited to get going and to get in the system."
Newhook was limited to just 12 games this year with BC due to required quarantine protocols around the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship from the middle of November until the beginning of January, but he still produced 16 points (seven goals, nine assists), averaging over a point per outing, and finished his collegiate career with a seven-game point streak.
The St. John's, Newfoundland, native earned a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2021 World Juniors, recording six points (three goals, three assists) and a plus-8 rating at the tournament.
Newhook will have a familiar face from that squad with him in Colorado as he was on that team with Avs defenseman Bowen Byram. Both players were selected by Colorado in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft, with Newhook being chosen with the 16th overall pick after Byram went at No. 4.
"I am really excited, he was one of the first guys to reach out to me," Newhook said of the possibility of being on the same team as Byram again. "It's great to have that relationship with him. I think ever since the draft we have kind of just gotten closer and closer, so it's nice to have a familiar face up there and hopefully can see him soon and work together here shortly."
Video: Prospect Alex Newhook after signing with the Avs
The center will report to the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles, who have a 7-8-2 record and sit in fifth in the Pacific Division with 16 points. The Eagles have played the least amount of games in their division and have 18 more scheduled this season. Likewise, the Avs have 22 more outings including their Wednesday night matchup against the Arizona Coyotes.
"I think it's definitely a positive piece to it, especially given how many games I have been able to play this year with injuries and being at World Juniors," the 20-year-old said of the chance to get more contests in this year. "I think there is still a lot of room to get more games in this year and with the schedule being favorable at the end of the year this year for me, it was definitely just another positive piece where it was hard to turn down."
As a freshman at Boston College in 2019-20, Newhook tallied 42 points (19 goals, 23 assists) and ranked ninth nationally in points per game and tied for the team lead in scoring. He led all NCAA freshmen in goals, game-winning goals (four) and short-handed goals (three), while his plus-28 rating was third in the country.
He earned the Tim Taylor Award as the NCAA Division-I Rookie of the Year, the first player from BC to do so. He was also named the Hockey East Rookie of the Year, the ninth player in program history to be recognized as the league's top first-year student-athlete.
"I think I am ready to make the jump to professional hockey and I think I've had a great two years at Boston College; I really enjoyed my time here, but I think it's the right time for me to move on," said Newhook. "I think a few of the guys on our team have made similar decisions, and I am really happy to be taking this step now. It was definitely a hard decision. Looking at coming back and with my sister coming in and the group of guys we have here, so it was a hard decision, but I think it was the right one and I am really excited for the future here."
The next few days will continue to be busy for Newhook as he is set to make the journey from Boston to Denver before going through a required quarantine prior to hitting the ice with AHL Colorado.
"I think it's something where I am excited to get with the Eagles first off and start playing more games and learn from the coaching staff there," Newhook said of his next steps. "Obviously the end goal is to be with the big club and is something I continue to work towards every day, no matter where I am slotted."