Victoria Grizzlies' two Alexes back together at NHL pre-draft tests in Buffalo

It has been a while, but the Victoria Grizzlies’ two Alexes are together again.

And just like they were all season in the B.C. Hockey League, Alex Newhook and Alex Campbell will be under the microscope of NHL scouts next week as they join 107 other top-ranked draft eligible players at the annual NHL Draft Combine in Buffalo.

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The two 18-year-olds, who helped the Grizzlies reach the BCHL Coastal Conference final this season, will go through four days of interviews with NHL teams beginning Monday, and then be put through two days of fitness testing so every NHL team knows what they’re getting come draft weekend on June 21-22 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

“It’s going to be a busy week, that’s for sure, but I’ve been training hard for it so I’m looking forward to it and it should be fun seeing some guys that I know there,” said Newhook, the Grizzlies captain who led the BCHL in scoring in the regular season and the playoffs and was last week named the Canadian Junior Hockey League most valuable player.

Newhook, who is finishing up classes at Belmont Secondary in Langford and preparing for his Grade 12 exams, got a little extra ice time this spring, suiting up for Team Canada at the recent World Under-18 Hockey Championship in Sweden.

“I took a little time off after worlds because that was a lot of hockey, but then got right back to training,” said the 18-year-old from St. John’s, N.L., who is ranked 13th by NHL Central Scouting.

Campell, ranked No. 42 by Central Scouting, returned to his home in Montreal following the Grizzlies season, but didn’t take a lot of time off knowing the combine was on the horizon.

“A few days off but then back to training and trying to eat right,” said Campbell, who was named the BCHL rookie of the year.

Campbell, too, has already been fielding calls from NHL scouts and knows he’s in for a busy next few weeks leading up to the draft.

“I’m looking forward to the combine. It should be interesting and I’ve been in the gym and on the ice training so I think I’m ready for it.

“And my family and I will be coming out to Vancouver for draft weekend so we hope to take it all in and have a fun weekend.”

Although he’s not 100 per cent certain he’ll be back in the Grizzlies’ black and gold next season, he is leaning that way.

“I can’t say for sure because it’ll probably be up to the NHL team that picks me, but I had a lot of fun last season so I wouldn’t have a problem going back to Victoria,” added Campbell, who also has an NCAA scholarship waiting for him at Clarkson University in upstate New York.

Although Newhook has done a lot of travelling this spring, he too will be at Rogers Arena next month for the big weekend.

“Yes, my family is going to meet me there and they are looking forward to seeing the sights in Vancouver and having a fun weekend.”

And of course, Newhook has another rather big moment in his life coming up in a couple of weeks.

“Yes, when I get back from Buffalo it’ll be right into getting ready for grad at Belmont on June 15 so it’s going to be a busy month, but I like it that way.”

bdrewry@timescolonist.com

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