St. Mary’s graduate, Modesto native Gunnoe gaining valuable experience in EHL
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Alex Gunnoe is now the answer to a trivia question that will be talked about years from now.
The first St. Mary’s High School alumnus to play junior hockey, the 18-year-old Modesto native and 2019 St. Mary’s graduate has moved on for the 2019-20 season to skate for the New York Apple Core franchise in the Eastern Hockey League.
Now two months into the season, Gunnoe is pretty elated with how the experience has gone to this point nearly 3,000 miles from home.
“For me, I feel like I have to adjust a lot playing with and against better players than I am used to,” Gunnoe said. “As for the team, we have a core group of guys, but we are having some trouble winning games.”
Through the end of October, Apple Core had gone 2-11-0, while Gunnoe had recorded a goal and an assist in 12 games from the New York back end.
“This year with Apple Core, there has been some struggles with our coach leaving and having to bring in a brand-new coach and having to see players leave, but the core group of guys is still here, and we hope to do as much as we can to win,” Gunnoe said. “It’s my first season of juniors and I just hope to gain experience to help me move on to play at the next level.”
“So far, it’s been pretty fun, but there are times where I miss being home with all my friends and family,” admitted Gunnoe.
Last season playing for the Rams in the program’s inaugural season, Gunnoe tallied 11 goals and 14 points along with 14 penalty minutes.
He said he’ll always hold the 2018-19 season near and dear to his heart.
“The memories that stand out the most for me about St. Mary’s are the times when we would travel out for the state to play and traveling with my teammates – like that was really fun for me,” Gunnoe said. “St. Mary’s prepared me for juniors because of the amount of practice you get. It’s pretty similar to the amount we get in juniors. 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.”
Gunnoe also said that seeing players move from California high school teams like St. Mary’s to junior hockey only means bigger things are in store for youth hockey in the Golden State.
“It shows that the hockey in California is growing and becoming better for players to move on,” noted Gunnoe.
Growing up in the Stockton area, Gunnoe said he became interested in hockey at a young age.
“I first got started playing because I went to a San Jose Sharks game,” said Gunnoe. “I just loved playing so that’s what kept me hooked on continuing. I pretty much played all my hockey career in Stockton youth programs.”
Now a prominent graduate of St. Mary’s, Gunnoe is banking on more coming down the pike that move on to junior and college hockey. He also offered words of wisdom for current and future Rams players.
“My advice for them is to just make sure they are always working hard and buying in to what they are doing, whether it’s their schoolwork or hockey,” Gunnoe said.
— Matt Mackinder
(Nov. 26, 2019)