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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Frosh Nespor looks to fill void for Arizona hockey

After five talented forwards graduated from the Arizona hockey team, the squad is looking to the incoming freshmen for some talent to contend up front. The Wildcats received a commitment from Alex Nespor, a triple-threat forward who can pass, shoot and hit.

Nespor has lived and played hockey everywhere. He was born in Chicago, grew up in California and then moved to New Jersey. He has played in a wide variety of hockey across the country.

For the first two years of high school, Nespor attended New Jersey’s Princeton Day School, where he led his team to a state championship after hitting the game-winning shot. After winning All-State as a sophomore, Nespor transferred to Canterbury Prep School in Connecticut.

At Canterbury, Nespor tore his rotator cuff, shattered his clavicle and separated his shoulder when was hit from behind. Due to the gruesome injury, Nespor lost an entire season but gained a bionic shoulder.

After high school, Nespor played a year in Junior League for the Boston Junior Bruins where his style of play was altered. Due to his injury, Nespor had lost some skill and had to transform into a more physical player with a defensive mindset.

“During my time with the Bruins, my role as a player kind of changed,” Nespor said. “I now play as a ham-and-eggs kind of guy. I’m not flashy, but I do the small things to get us the puck in the net.”

Nespor transformed himself into a “grinder” forward where his hard work and checking is noticeable. Milan Lucic, a Boston Bruins wing player, is someone Nespor likes to style his play after.

“Lucic is a big dude who works hard and crushes guys,” Nespor said, “but at the same time, he can also score and pass.”

However, Nespor can do more than just bang and hit. Nespor is aggressive and keeps himself out of the penalty box with his “hockey smarts.”

“I pride myself not only on my physical play but also my smarts,” Nespor said. “I have a large hockey IQ. I am good at anticipating players and the puck.”

During a NCAA summer showcase tournament, Nespor got the chance to play alongside Arizona rookie Dylan Carter. Nespor and Carter’s individual styles of play complement each other accordingly. Nespor works as a grinder to attain and pass the puck, and Carter puts it in the back of the net.

“It only took a few shifts before we had great chemistry,” Carter said. “He’s a great passer and has a high hockey IQ.”

Nespor said he is excited for this season, because he believes that this team is going to play with a “team-first” mentality.

“How can I make the team better, instead of myself?” Nespor said. “How can I make myself better so that it’s better for the team as a whole? That’s the ‘team-first’ style I refer to”

Along with Nespor, Wildcat fans can anticipate hockey season play at the Tucson Convention Center.

—Follow Zoe Wolkowitz @zowolko

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