Today: Dec 15 , 2019

Alex Leavitt - Our Advantage is Our Fan Support

10 March 2008  
Alex Leavitt currently has the highest season point total in the entire Central Hockey League (CHL); and he was recently named "Best Stickhandler" in the Best of the Best Poll for 2007-2008, according to the Shrevepoint Times .

 

leavitt2.jpg
Alex Leavitt, during a recent game against the Rocky Mountain Rage. Photos by Matt Santos .
Alex Leavitt currently has the highest season point total in the entire Central Hockey League (CHL); and he was recently named "Best Stickhandler" in the Best of the Best Poll for 2007-2008, according to the Shrevepoint Times . So, it's a darned good thing for the first-place Arizona Sundogs that he's on their team, especially as they go into the playoff season. But, how did Leavitt, who hails from Edmonton, Canada , end up in Prescott Valley? 

 

"The way it works, is that I'm under contract with the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL, and then through a linear affiliation of a team in San Antonio," Leavitt explains. "I guess the only way I can describe it is that the San Antonio team is like the Triple-A affiliate, and the Prescott team is like a Double-A team. It's like being in Double-A baseball is kind of the level we're at, and that's kind of how I ended up here. I'm with Phoenix, and the affiliation goes through Prescott Valley." 

The Sundogs aren't the first stop in Leavitt's career, however, it's his third year of professional hockey. "Last year, I played in a different organization, I was part of the Minnesota Wild organization, and I was playing at the Triple-A level in Houston," Leavitt says. "And I got traded halfway through the season,  to the Phoenix organization and played at the Triple-A level in San Antonio. And the year before that, I was kind of an unrestricted free agent, and played up in Alaska. But this is my first  year with the Sundogs."

Leavitt notes ruefully, "From one extreme to another, playing my first year in Alaska, and then going to Houston for the next year, you couldn't get any more different than that. I think I've pretty much seen all the country you have here."  

With the intensity of hockey at an extremely high level, typically the players aren't on the ice the entire time. So, how much time does he actually spend on the ice? "I play center. The way it works, you go on for about a minute, and then off. And you have two other groups of players of five that will rotate in for you. You kind of go on for a minute, and then rest for two minutes, so you keep rotating throughout the game, for a sixty minute game, most of the time you play for about 20 minutes." 

{sidebar id=23}

Leavitt is a Canadian citizen, but he's not the only one on the team, that's for sure. "Most of us are from Canada," Leavitt says. How does that work? "It's kind of like, during the hockey season, the team provides us with really nice housing, really nice apartments in Prescott Valley, and they kind of have everything set up for us. We only have to bring the real essential things like clothes and stuff; I leave most of my furniture and major things back in my apartment back in Canada. It's a pretty easy transition going back in the summer."

The Prescott area is pretty small compared to Edmonton, which has a population of over 730,000; but Leavitt is enjoying his time here. "I love Prescott. A big component of getting along in an area is the fans, and we've got some of the best fans in the league. We've played in pretty much all of the arenas, and ours is always one of the fullest. So, whenever you have a big support group like we have, it just makes everything easier - a lot easier - to get motivated. I like the town, a nice quiet town, it keeps you grounded. But it all comes back to the support that we've gotten from our fans around the area, it's a big help."

Life Outside of Hockey 

Leavitt, 24, is the oldest of three boys, "My parents live in Edmonton, my mom tried for a girl, and she was 0-3 and I think she just gave up after that. I have a brother, who I get to brag about right now, my middle brother he goes to Princeton University; he got all the brains and I got a little bit of the athletic ability. So, he goes to Princeton, and he's working in getting a degree in foreign business, he's taking Chinese, I'm really proud of him for following that route and just doing well with his schoolwork. My youngest brother has autism, so he's really an interesting character to grow up with." 

Obviously, there's more to life than hockey, isn't there? "I've always loved other sports, hockey was the one I was best at, but I was always really into all different kinds of sports," Leavitt says. "Obviously a lot of [American-style] football, and golf, and things like that. We have tons of free time here, so we get a chance to do a lot of different things in the off-season. We have summers off, so traveling is always a big thing I like to do, I like to see different parts of the world." 

But, what about the other kind of football - what we call soccer around here? Leavitt admits that he doesn't follow it as much. "I do like soccer as well, but since I've been living in the US for the last few years, the NFL seems to dominate the TV around here, you've got no choice but to get involved and get into it." 

Where Success Leads 

In the meantime, though, Leavitt feels that the success of the Sundogs is in large part a credit to the fans, "Really all I can say to the fans is that I want to let them know is that they really are important to the success of the team, I think the reason we are in first place right now is obviously that we've got great coaching, we have good players, but without the fan support, it just doesn't happen - you need to have the fans come to the games, and be loud and make it difficult for other teams to come to your rink and to want to play here. I just think we have a huge advantage over other teams because of the fan support we're getting. If we're going to win a championship this year, they gotta keep coming to the games and help us out because they play such a huge role." 

And for next year? Well, it's every player's dream to make it to the top level, and Leavitt hungers for that, too. He talks about the next steps in his career, "I still have one more year on my contract with Phoenix, but the goal is to play there next year, or in San Antonio, but if not, if I'm back in Prescott, it's not the end of the world, by all means, it's a great place to play, and I've had a great year this year, so we'll see!" 

So, maybe next year, he'll end up on the Phoenix Coyotes, having dinner with Wayne Gretsky at some point? Leavitt laughs. "No kidding, that would be nice!"

Remaining Games

There are only seven remaining games in the season, but the good news is that six of them are played at home. Purchase tickets to watch Leavitt and the Sundogs play and keep Tim's Toyota Center rockin'!

Photo Gallery

Please click on a thumbnail to view a larger image. All photos courtesy of Matt Santos

 

Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/eNewsAZ/