By Jake Howorth
The North York Rangers are riding high; winning seven of their last eight games and hold a record of 17-7-0-2. A major reason for the amount of success they’ve experienced this campaign is goalie Jett Alexander. He was one of 18 CJHL players on the most recent edition of the NHL Central Scouting Watch List for the upcoming draft in June. He was also one of five goalies named to Canada East’s training camp for this year’s World Junior A Challenge.
Of course any time a player name appears on a NHL Scouting List it’s a great accomplishment, but for Alexander he’s focused on the team that assisted in his development.
“It’s kind of a honour to be on that list,” he said. “I remain focus on what we do here at North York, just focus on winning games here with the team, and playing well. Hopefully by the end of the year I’m there, but I’m not worried about it. Take it with a gain of salt and take it day-by-day here.”
The recently turned 18-year-old shows his commitment to the Rangers and relentless pursuit of improvement on a daily basis. So far he sits second in the OJHL with a .934 save percentage and his 1.98 goal against average ranks third. Recently he’s won four of his past five starts and never allowed more than two goals a game during that span. Of course, with any athlete those numbers don’t just appear because one shows up. It’s hours of work and concentration behind the senses.
The Bloomfield, Ontario native has been apart of the North York organization since Minor Midget in 2014. He persistently showed off his potential being named to the GTHL top prospect game. It put the OHL on notice when the Mississauga Steelheads drafted him in 2015. The very next season, he displayed why the Steelheads selected him. He assisted in the Rangers Telus Cup Gold Medal run, while posting a 1.93 GAA and .926 SV% in the five games. During that campaign, he got his first taste of the OJHL in October. He saw time in two games, one of which he started and made 42 saves against Wellington to pick up his first victory.
In Alexander’s first season in the OJHL last year, he spent a short time with the Georgetown Raiders, posting marvelous numbers before the Rangers brought him back. His ongoing impressive performances got him chosen to the OJHL First Team All-Prospect. Now a year later, he can’t see himself with another organization in Junior Hockey.
“I feel like I’ve grown a lot here, this is home to me, I take pride playing here. I know it’s a great organizing that has a lot of history, “ he stated. “I think my game really developed since minor midget when I started here. North York’s been big. It’s definitely where I planted my boots and started my junior career. It’s been great playing here and I love it here.”
One of the major attributes to Alexander’s game is his size, standing at a towering 6’4. He sustained a massive growth sprit in 2015, after the OHL draft when he was 5’8. That growth sprit was somewhat unpredictable considering neither of his parents are near that height. The additional height allowed the goalie to get more comfortable in the blue crease.
“I wasn’t small, but I wasn’t big when I kind of grew my game grew as well I developed a lot. I started getting hit with a lot more pucks being 6’4. You have to move less in the net really and I feel like it calmed my game down,” he explained. “I just tried to play my brand of hockey, the way I like to play. Calm nothing really bothers me in there. It definitely helps being a bit bigger in net, you take up more net right, and just the way it works.”
Coming through the ranks, athletes in all sports sometimes get a tendency of looking to far down the road instead of focusing on the here and now. That’s a problem Alexander doesn’t face. He wants to help pole vault North York to the top of the OJHL similar to what he did Midget. The youngster truly believes in this team’s potential.
“I think we have a chance this year. If we’re going to win something big, this is the year we’re going to win it. Talent wise I think we’re top of the league in talent, work ethic we’re there too, I think we’re really buying in to it now, the guys are working really hard, It’s great to see, head coach (Geoff) Schomogyi has us all on the same page, and the rest of our coaching staff as well,” he said. “It’s pretty cool to watch from last year to this year the transition. Everyone wants to be here, everyone’s buying in and honestly the sky is the limit. We have not come close to hitting our ceiling yet. When we do hopefully it’s after a big championship or something like that. Who knows what will happen but I think we have a shot this year.”
The North York Rangers and Jett Alexander have a couple more obstacles to face before they reach their ultimate goal. One thing is for certain though, the talent, desire and dive is there for Alexander to become an NHL prospect come June.
Photo from Steven Ellis/North York Rangers