St. Stephen – The St. Stephen Aces are branching out.
Alex Engan, of Alaska, recently committed to the junior A squad, and will be a new face at training camp.
Engan, a forward who turns 18 in December, was the second leading scorer in 43 games last season, split between his high school, Wasilla High, and his comp team – the AAA U18 Alaska Oilers.
The 5’10’’, 185 lb forward had 55 points in 43 games between the two, logging 38 goals, and assisting on 17 others.
“In Alaska, it’s kind of smaller here, so getting outside of Alaska is pretty cool to go play, especially in Canada,” Engan said during a telephone interview. He noted he had plans to play in a different arena in the upcoming season before the opportunity with the Aces came up.
With training camp due to begin on Aug. 24, Engan is scheduled to arrive in St. Stephen on Aug. 21. In the offseason, Engan said he hits the gym four days a week, with the fifth day working out at home, and “spends all summer shooting”.
Aces coach Emery Olauson said the connection to the Alaska native was made through Engan’s advisor Stephen Heisler.
“When Stephen heard what we’re trying to get created here with the NCAA push for eligible players to come play here and trying to get some schools up to watch them, he thought that this was a good fit.”
“There’s going to be a common theme with our commitments throughout the summer, and that is we think they’re going to contribute, whether that’s on a top line or second line – wherever they end up in the lineup.” – Emery Olauson, Aces head coach
What does Olauson feel Engan will bring to the team? Consistency.
“His numbers are there, he’s putting up points. The thing I like about him is I’ve heard a lot about his defensive side of the game. He gets a lot of offensive points, but not by cheating, by playing the right way, and really with his speed.
“There’s going to be a common theme with our commitments throughout the summer, and that is we think they’re going to contribute, whether that’s on a top line or second line – wherever they end up in the lineup.
“I’m a big believer that if your third or fourth line is scoring, then you’re winning,” Olauson said, adding he feels Engan will compliment players like D-wizard Evan White on the blue-line, and speedster forward Ryan MacDonald.
“With the addition of a guy like Alex to what is left here offensively, … we think we’re really going to be set up well once all of our commitments and all of our camp invites are put on one piece of paper – there’s a lot of good players there.”
Engan said he first began playing hockey at the age of five, after encouragement from his father.
“And then my mom got into it, because we weren’t really a huge hockey family until I started playing.”
With a little more than a month before Engan is slated to take to the Garcelon Civic Center ice for training camp, he said his goal is to make an immediate impact upon arrival.
“I want to make myself noticed and have my name in every body’s mouth, talking about how happy I am that I came, and not just disappointed,” Engan said.
The best way to do that?
“To make plays right away on the ice, and score some goals,” Engan said.
“I’m a little nervous, but I’m really excited for the opportunity.
“Just being away from everybody so far is going to be different, just because it’s my first year; but I think it will be good still.”