Alex MacLeod — back to having fun again playing hockey at the Allan Cup Tournament
A hockey player from Nelson is trying to accomplish what no Nelson team has ever done before — win the Allan Cup, emblematic of Canadian Men’s Senior AAA Hockey supremacy.
Nelson Minor Hockey grad Alex MacLeod is currently in Clarenville, Newfoundland playing in the six-team 2015 Allan Cup Tournament for the Bentley Generals.
“I was pretty young when Nelson played for the Allan Cup,” MacLeod said from Clarenville where the Generals were enjoying a much-needed day off in preparation for a spot in Friday’s semi finals.
“I remember hearing about Nelson playing in the 1965 and in the 80’s but that about it.”
The Allan Cup is the oldest national championship in the country dating back 106 years as the best Senior hockey teams in Canada battled it out for the coveted prize.
Nelson Maple Leafs were part of the Western International Hockey League, playing in three Allan Cup Finals in 1965, 1986 and 1987.
The WIHL folded in the late 1980s.
Playing in the 2015 Allan Cup tournament was probably the last thing on MacLeod’s mind when the season started for the Generals in the fall.
Deciding to retire from professional hockey after a few seasons in the East Coast Hockey League and Southern Professional Hockey League, MacLeod was working as a mechanical engineer in Fort McMurray, Alta., when a friend told him about the Generals Hockey Club.
“I asked him to gently tell the coach I was interested in still playing,” MacLeod explained.
The rest, they say, is history as Macleod’s name was given to a company in Calgary that had an opening for — you guessed it — a recent mechanical engineer graduate.
“It all happened within a few weeks,” MacLeod said.
Bentley plays in the five-team Chinook Hockey League, against teams from Fort Saskatchewan, Okotoks, Innisfail and Stony Plain.
The Generals dominated the league, finishing in top spot with a 23-1 record.
However, Macleod said the playoff run was anything but easy as Bentley won the league championship by defeating Innisfail in the final.
“At the beginning of the year I was a little unsure I was making the right decision to play for the Generals but as the year went on, playing with the guys, in realized I missed hockey,” MacLeod, finishing the season with a goal and six assists in 13 games, said.
The sour taste MacLeod experienced at the beginning of the season came from time toiling in the ECHL and SPHL.
“I really didn’t like the business side of hockey,” said MacLeod, who played for South Carolina Stingrays, Columbus Cottonmouths and Stockton Thunder.
MacLeod graduated from Nelson Minor Hockey before playing for Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the KIJHL.
He joined Penticton of the BCHL before being traded to Camrose Kodiaks during his final season of junior hockey.
MacLeod then spent four years on a NCAA hockey scholarship at Michigan Tech where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering.
“I realized after a few seasons (of professional hockey) I wasn’t going to make NHL. I was happy to have an education and decided to go and start the next chapter of my life.”
The Generals are 2-0 at the Allan Cup tournament with round robin wins over host Clarenville Caribous 3-2 and a 4-1 victory over Lameque Au Ptit Mousse from New Brunswick.
Bentley now faces GF Windsor in semi final round action Friday with a win advaning the Alberta squad into the Final Saturday.
MacLeod said the teams at the Allan Cup tournament are very evenly matched.
“We could have just as been 0-2 as 2-0,” he said.
“But we have a very deep teams and a great group of guys who are really fun play on the same team with.”
A team with a Nelsonite playing that will hopefully give Nelson that historical Allan Cup victory.