EDMONTON, AB - When opportunity arose on the east coast, Alex Newhook went west.
Despite his third-round selection by the Halifax Mooseheads in the 2017 QMJHL Draft, the St. John's, Newfoundland product elected to join the Victoria Grizzlies that year in the British Columbia Hockey League on Vancouver Island.
It was more or less by design, as the 18-year-old chose to retain his college eligibility and now looks beyond a first-round selection in this year's NHL Draft to his first year of NCAA hockey with Boston College beginning in September.
Video: COMBINE | Alex Newhook
"I'm sticking with the college route," the 5-foot-11, 190-pound centre said to EdmontonOilers.com at last weekend's NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo.
"It's something I'm very interested in since committing there. I think it was November of my Grade 10 year, so I'm sticking to that plan. It's a great lifestyle down there being able to develop physically, being able to develop as a player and person, and it's something that's been very attractive to me."
At 17, Newhook took the crown as the BCHL's top rookie with 66 points in 45 games. Flash forward now to this past season, where he tore up Junior A with 38 goals and 64 assists for 102 points in 53 games - an 18-point lead on the rest of the league - and a further 11 markers and 24 points in 15 playoff contests.
He added 10 points in seven games internationally with Canada at the IIHF World U18 Championship in Sweden, finishing sixth in scoring behind names from this year's draft class like Jack Hughes, Cole Caufield, Matthew Boldy, Cam York and Payton Krebs to prove his domination of the BCHL isn't a smokescreen.
"The BCHL route has been great for me," Newhook said. "Being able to come in last year and play a lot and be a difference-maker, then this year being able to build off that and be a captain is something that's been really beneficial for me and I'm very happy with it."
Newhook has dictated his own path in hockey the same way he's able to dictate play on the ice with his blistering speed, agility, strong puck control, and the ability to think the game as fast as his feet. A 35-point lead on his next closest teammate more than showed his capability of being a juggernaut offensively, with improving his speed in all facets being a focus every offseason.
"I think just improving speed in every aspect of the game," he said. "It's such a big factor, it's such a big part of my game, and trying to keep that edge quickness-wise and skating-wise is something I definitely try to work on in the offseason and will continue to do so moving forward."
Taking his raw skill to the NCAA level and Boston College is next on the centre's long line of progression, and the one club of the 27 teams who interviewed the prolific Junior-A scorer during Combine weekend that's ready to draft him in Vancouver and ride out the journey could reap the spoils at the end of it.