One-on-One with Alex Leavitt
By Michael McHugh, Aeros.com Jr. Reporter/Sports Edition Magazine
Pictures by James Damm
If Alex Leavitt ever decides to give up hockey, he definitely should consider a career in stand up comedy. His quick wit keeps those around him laughing, and wanting more. Fellow Canadian, and Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster is a funny guy, and occasionally visits comedy clubs and gets up on stage. Leavitt could give him a run for his money.
The 22-year-old forward from Edmonton comes to the Aeros from a stint in Alaska, where he was named ECHL Rookie of the Year after posting a league-leading 91-points. He became the third rookie, and the first in 15 seasons, to lead the ECHL in scoring.
Be sure to read his blog at Aeros.com
for more laughs and behind the scenes insights with the team. Michael McHugh: What’s your time been like so far in the AHL?Alex Leavitt:
It’s been a fun experience coming to an organization like the Houston Aeros. The guys have been great and the coaching staff has been very helpful so it’s been a fun start to the year. Your blog shows your sense of humor. Have you enjoyed writing it?
It’s fun. It’s an interesting thing to do. I’ve never really done anything like that before, so when they asked me to do it, I was caught a little off guard and didn’t know what to say. I just did my best and tried not to sound too stupid, so I hope the fans liked it. What is your favorite thing to do in Houston?
Probably to enjoy the beautiful weather here. I was in Alaska last year and that is a heck of a lot different than Houston is so I’m liking the climate change right now and trying to wear my sunscreen when I’m outside. Do you have a favorite place to eat?
Well, I’ve only been here for a short time, and I really haven’t gotten a chance to see the whole city yet so nothing is really jumping out at me, but maybe next time I talk to you I will have found a good spot I can call home. What is the most surprising thing about Houston to you?
How fast everyone drives! The freeways are crazy! People are nuts here! It’s like F-1 racing. I don’t even have a car, but I’m afraid to go on the freeways. Who do you think you will learn the most from on the Aeros?
Probably from a veteran like Mr. Morgan. He’s been around for a while. It’s his 11th year of pros so I’m sure he knows the ins and outs of the game, and the little things you need to do to get better. Obviously, part of the older guys’ responsibility is to teach the younger guys how to be a good pro, and he’s a good example. What was it like growing up in Canada?
It was lots of hockey all the time. I grew up in Edmonton, and grew up in the 80’s. If you know your hockey history, in the 80’s Edmonton was a pretty solid hockey hot bed. They won a lot of Stanley Cups there. My parents got me in to hockey pretty early and I really just fell in love with the game. Obviously, as a kid, you do a lot of other things, but if I look back on my childhood, it’s just basically 22 years of skating around the ice and shooting the puck.
I have two younger brothers, neither of them play hockey. My parents own a women’s clothing chain in Edmonton and Calgary and have run the business for 25 years. It’s quite an accomplishment to start the business from the ground up and make it successful. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Easily, my dad. He coached me a lot growing up with my game and things like that, and how to be a better player , even in life too. He’s been a great teacher and helping me to become a somewhat mature adult. Slowly, but surely. I’m 22 now and I think I’ve reached an 18 year-old status. I’m four years behind the average person. Hopefully someday I’ll grow up. Do you have any superstitions or rituals before a game?
Nothing too specific, but just little things like show up to the rink at the same time before each game and really little things like in warm ups skate in one direction. Compared to most guys, it wouldn’t even register. A lot of guys eat the same food, tape their stick the exact same way. I’m pretty loose and only have a couple of little things that I do. What is your favorite non hockey sport?
Probably golf. Golf is an interesting game because it tests your character, and I play quite a bit in the off season. Are you a prankster?
(laughs) Somewhat, yeah. As a rookie, you have to kind of behave a little bit. As the season goes on, I might play a few jokes here and there. Hopefully I won’t get in too much trouble. Have you had any done on you?
Nothing too crazy this year. I am sure as the year goes on, guys will get after each other and leave some shaving cream in the shoes or mess with the stalls a little bit here and there. Right now every one’s sticking to business and I guess once we get in to the routine of things, guys will lighten up a bit. (Reporter’s note: Anyone remember a couple of years ago, Pierre Marc Bouchard crawling under the dinner table in a restaurant and smearing sour cream and butter on Brent Burns shoe without him knowing?) What has been your funniest hockey moment?
That’s a tough question. One time, it was actually last season, I was playing in Fresno, California and they have a kiss cam that goes through the crowds, and some smart guy who thought he was pretty funny, decided to put it on me and another teammate on our bench, and we kind of touched heads on the bench just to go along with it, and we got a big cheer from the audience. That was pretty funny. Do you have a favorite kind of music?
Yeah, I’m in to classic rock. I tried to get in to rap and hip hop for a while but I couldn’t keep up with it, or figure out what anyone was saying, so I just stick to the electric guitar. What has been your most embarrassing moment?
In hockey or life? Those are quite different! My most embarrassing moment in hockey was, one time back in juniors, I scored a goal in my own net and it was actually a pretty bad time to do it, it was late in the game and that was pretty embarrassing. I didn’t feel too good about that one. (Reporter’s note: All those in ear shot burst into laughter) What about in life?
It was probably the other night when I tried to approach some girl in the mall and asked her if she would like to go on a date with me, and she told me she had a boyfriend. Then one of my buddies went and asked her about five minutes later and he got a date with her. (More roars of laughter) The last good movie I saw was….
Probably The Notebook, so any ladies reading this, yes, I have a soft sensitive side. I’m not just good looking, I also have a soft sensitive side as well. (More laughter) Can you put a ha ha
in there so I don’t look too arrogant? (laughs) Something about me few people know is…..
Well, I probably shouldn’t let this secret out of the bag too early because I’ve got big plans this year, but I’m a pretty good Texas Holdem player. Hopefully none of the teammates read this so I can bluff them out of a few pots if we ever play on the bus or the plane. I’m happiest when…..
I’m on the ice in a game and I score a big goal, I get an assist, or the team wins. There’s nothing really like playing in front of thousands of people, and have the crowd cheer for you. It really is the greatest feeling in life for me so far. What is something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
I’ve always thought about sky diving, but because of being a pro athlete there are things in our contract which kind of limit us from off season activities. But I think maybe one day when I retire, and I’m down on life, I might try that.