Every summer we see a number of hockey players come back to Kelowna and return to Okanagan Peak Performance Inc for their off-season hockey training. These players want to get to the next level, to produce at the highest level and finally to have a lengthy career at the highest level.
This summer we welcomed back a number of players who had played professionally, played in & won at the Spengler Cup and played at the World Championships.
But also had a number of younger players training with us. One in particular was Alex Swetlikoff.
Now it might not be easy to recognize Alex underneath his helmet and gear but maybe this will help. He is the son of Dr. Garrett and Tammy Swetlikoff and attended KCS in Kelowna while playing bantam hockey.When he’s at the gym he always goes about his workout. He comes in grabs his program, warms up and gets to it. And he finishes every workout the exact same way. He seeks me no matter where I am in the gym, comes over and shakes my hand saying ‘thanks Chris’.
It’s always been this way over the years we’ve been working with Alex. It all started probably about 5 or so years ago when training a number of young hockey players. Besides Alex there was Gio Sambrielaz who stood about a foot taller than Alex as he was a couple of years younger.
Fast forward to this summer and Alex has grown and matured to the point where he is now going to venture away to play hockey in the Fraser Valley. This coming year Alex will suit up for the Yale Academy Lions of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League as a second year bantam. Other teams in this league include POE, OHA, Shawinigan Lake, the Delta Hockey Academy and the Edge School (Calgary).
Playing on the road will be nothing new for Alex as he played the last three years on spring hockey in the lower mainland. Many of these players will make up the team he will play on at Yale Academy. I can remember when Alex would come shake my hand after finishing a workout and I’d ask him when he’d be in next. Often times he would answer saying he was off to a tournament in Minnesota, Winnipeg, Chicago or somewhere else. So games in Calgary or Shawinigan Lake won’t be anything new for him.
And something else that won’t be new for Alex will be adopting the mindset of a professional player. Oftentimes it’s not the physical or athletic ability of a hockey player that determines how far they’ll progress in hockey. Instead it’s their mindset. Will they do the workouts consistently? Will they train when no else is? Will they get enough quality sleep and recovery between training sessions? Will they fuel and hydrate their bodies optimally?
While many players wouldn’t be able to say ‘yes’ to all these questions we know what Alex already has. And this will be a huge reason he continues to develop and excel as a hockey player.
Good luck Alex! We’ll be following and supporting you all the way.