Hockey has surrounded Alex Roach all his life and now his dedication and hard work has paid off, as he has assented to the professionals ranks.
Roach, who is from Quesnel learned his craft though his time with the Quesnel Minor Hockey League and the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League.
Standing 6’4 and weighing in at 225 pounds, Roach is an intimidating presence on the blue line for the Manchester Monarchs of the East Coast Hockey League, an affiliate team of the Los Angeles Kings.
He recently completed his second full season of professional hockey and says it went very well, but stated he would still like to be playing in the playoffs now.
“I had great teammates this year and the coaching staff was awesome in how they treated everyone fairly,” Roach said.
“I enjoyed my time there and we had a really good regular season. It was too bad we lost in the first round of the playoffs, but overall it was a success.”
He adds he grew a lot this year and was given a bigger role with the team.
“This year I logged a lot more minutes than I did my first year, which was probably more than double from the previous season,” Roach said.
He says last year was a big adjustment in playing his first full professional season.
“It was definitely a huge adjustment, in having to do all the stuff you usually wouldn’t have to do with a billet family,” Roach said.
“That was the hardest part, but once you get over that it’s just routine.”
Roach’s playing style is that of a two-way defensemen, who is adept at rushing the puck into the offensive zone and chipping in on the offence, or playing a shut down role.
He says one of his biggest assets he brings to the team is the physicality he provides.
“I think that’s what gets me into games and I think that’s the first thing people see,” Roach said.
“A big guy who can play a physical game.”
Looking forward to next year he would like to become a more consistent player on the ice.
“I think for every hockey play or person in any profession being more consistent and doing the right things will make you better,” Roach said.
“I think getting better everyday is the main goal for anyone who’s trying to make it to the next level.”
Roach says he learned a lot from the Kings training camps, where he had the opportunity to get advice from current NHL stars.
“It’s not necessarily the things you see when they’re playing the games that make them great,” Roach said.
“It’s the hard work they put in at the gym, during practice and afterwards”
He adds positioning at the professional level is the biggest thing he learned at the camps. During the summer he comes back to Quesnel to train with Brian Kozak of the Quesnel Acceleration Centre, who utilizes state of the art new technology like the Moxy and SpiroTiger, to help train athletes.
Although, he is new to the Moxy he thinks the shift to technology driven training will help athletes immensely.
“I think it’s going to be a huge improvement for me this summer,” Roach said.
“I’ve been using the SpiroTiger for three years and I think it made a huge difference. I was kind of struggling in junior one year and I used it for the summer and made big improvements. It’s something I try to use daily and before every game I usually do a five minute warm up to get my lungs ready.”
Roach finished with 30 points on the year with 24 assists, six goals and added two points in the playoffs, while also providing shut down defence for his team. Moving forward his goals are to play full-time for the Ontario Reign of the AHL and also hopes to be one of the players called up at the end of the year, and eventually be with the Kings on a permanent basis.