Lone St. Mary’s senior Gunnoe set to play ’19-20 in EHL
As the only graduating senior on the St. Mary’s High School hockey team this year, Alex Gunnoe may be done playing for the school, but he’s far from done playing hockey.
Gunnoe will head east in the fall to play junior hockey for the New York Apple Core program in the Eastern Hockey League.
Apple Core is based in Brewster, N.Y., about an hour northeast of New York City. Established in 1992, the program routinely sends numerous players each season to NCAA teams and has had several alumni crack NHL rosters.
“This opportunity came about because (St. Mary’s) coach (Derek Eisler) has a connection to the coach (Brian Fahey) and talked to him about me,” said Gunnoe. “Playing at St. Mary’s helped me to understand how to use my teammates better and use my skill in a way that will help me be more successful. I think St. Mary’s is very good program because of the coaching. Both coaches (Eisler, Zac Lytle) are caring and knowledgeable and seem to care a lot about the success for the team as well as us as individuals.”
In looking back on the 2018-19 season, the inaugural season for the Rams, Gunnoe has nothing but positives to say about the program, which played in the NAHL Prep League and Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League.
“The season was a very fun season and I enjoyed getting to know all of my teammates,” Gunnoe said. “I think the season could have gone better but for the inaugural season, I’d say it went pretty well. The things that stand out to me are the times when we traveled out of state. Travel with my teammates and bonding with them was really enjoyable.
“I will miss making all the memories with my teammates and going to school with them, too.”
Joining a new team and going to a new high school for his senior year, Gunnoe came in with realistic aspirations.
“My expectations coming into this season were that it was going to be difficult and it will be a lot more hockey than we are all used to,” said Gunnoe. “Academically, I think it was more difficult than my previous school. It gets a little bit challenging to keep up good grades with all the hockey but it’s definitely doable.
“The school obviously expects a lot from the students, but the teachers are good at helping to make sure you succeed. Having practice every day makes it a lot easier to work on the little things you need to get better at, so I think it made me a much better hockey player overall. The combination of hockey and academics make for a pretty busy schedule, but it really helped me with time management.”
Playing for Eisler paid immediate dividends for Gunnoe.
“I love playing for Coach Derek because he really understands what I need to do to get better and pushes me every practice to make sure I’m at the top of my game,” Gunnoe said.
Now with the offseason here, Gunnoe is ready to relax – but not too much – all while keeping his hockey and school goals in focus.
“My goals in hockey are to play junior and try to move on college hockey at some point,” said Gunnoe. “My plans are just to hang out with my friends and train to make sure I’m ready for next season.”
Gunnoe also offered advice for incoming St. Mary’s freshman students and those that want to play on the hockey team.
“I would tell them to make sure to stay on top of the school work and to stay motivated throughout the whole year because it will be well worth it,” said Gunnoe.
— Matt Mackinder
(April 9, 2019)