© Photo by Normand A. Léger
Alex Snow is shown in action with the Dieppe Commandos last season.
Playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has always been the goal for Alex Snow.
Ever since the 18-year-old Baie Verte native was drafted into the league in 2012, 186th overall by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, it was the party to which he desperately wanted an invite. Unfortunately, nothing in the often-cutthroat business of hockey is ever guaranteed and, other than two exhibition games, Snow’s opportunity with the Screaming Eagles simply flew right by him.
The six-foot, 190-pound forward decided to do the next best thing, reporting to the Maritime Junior A Hockey League club that also selected him that year, the Dieppe Commandos. His physicality, combined with a decent scoring touch — he’s put up seven goals and six assists this season, along with 45 penalty minutes, in 25 games — made him a key player for the New Brunswick-based squad.
His play also piqued the interest of the team’s head scout, Michel Gauvin, who is also the Atlantic scout for the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts. A call was made, an offer was agreed upon, and Snow was suddenly back up into the Q, with the team making the signing official on Dec. 9.
It was a surprising development for Snow, who said he was simply focused on trying to win a championship with Dieppe.
“I found myself playing better as the season progressed,” he said. “I thought maybe I had a chance, but I didn’t think it was going to come so soon.”
He’s played in four games so far, going pointless in all of them, but registering a single hit in a 7-3 win over Gatineau, three hits during a 5-2 loss against Baie-Comeau, a tripping minor in a 4-3 defeat to Shawinigan, before dishing out three hits in a 4-2 win versus Chicoutimi.
“They know that my physical game is a big aspect,” said Snow. “They just want me to bring lots of energy ... block shots, finish hits, score when I can ... whatever the coach needs, he’ll call upon me and I’ll answer the bell.”
Snow left a Commandos team that has been dominant in the MJAHL this season, with a 19-6-2-0 record for 40 points and first place in the Roger Meek Division.
The Remparts, meanwhile, are ninth overall in the Q with a record of 19-11-3-4, good for 45 points and third place in their Telus East Division. “It’s a step up with the speed and intensity,” Snow said of the Quebec league.
“The difference is everyone finishes their hits in the Q, everyone is looking to push forward. “It’s definitely a faster pace of hockey,” he added. “It’s a different level, with more expectations ... we usually average a crowd of 10,000 a night (in Quebec), in Dieppe I’m used to 300.”
Being suddenly immersed in the French language is also a switch for him, even though Dieppe is a predominantly francophone population.
“I’m still struggling with it right now,” Snow laughed. “Everybody in Dieppe is pretty much bilingual, but here it’s a pretty big language barrier.”
Though Snow was under the impression his stint with the Remparts would last only four games, until the Christmas break, injuries may dictate otherwise.
“They’ve got lots of guys dropping like flies,” said Snow. “So there could be a trip back up here after Christmas for me. I don’t know.”
In the meantime, he’s doing what he can to make the Remparts’ decision as difficult as possible. “I spoke with the coach personally,” he said. “I asked what they wanted from me and he told me to just play my game and I could very well earn myself a spot.”
His hockey future will also affect his Christmas plans. He returned home Sunday, in time to make a family gathering and, if he returns to Quebec, he’ll leave today.
If he’s going back to Dieppe, however, it won’t be until Jan. 2.
“It’ll mostly be a family situation,” he said of the holidays. “If I get some more time home, I’ll probably go have a few skates with some of my old friends.”