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CNY native Alex Tuch heading towards NHL history

Alex Tuch is all smiles when it comes to his upcoming season in Las Vegas (Niko Tamurian)

Baldwinsville native Alex Tuch is heading towards hockey history for Central New York.

Tuch will be joining the newly formed Las Vegas Golden Knights this October as the 31st team in the NHL after the team that drafted him in the first round in 2014, Minnesota, traded him to Las Vegas.

“It was a sudden unexpected turn, but my family and I are really excited for the opportunity" Tuch tells us.

"It’s the 31st team in the NHL and it’s a special thing to be a part. On draft day my entire summer turned upside down a bit. It was still my goal to make the NHL this year and I think I’ve done everything I can and I’m still doing everything I can to make it a reality” he adds.

From playing for the Syracuse Stars back in the 2011-2012 season, then going to Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan to have a better chance to be scouted for college, to signing with D-I Boston College in 2014, and of course being drafted by Minnesota and his NHL trade going to the Golden Knights, Tuch is grateful for everything that has happened to him. “I loved being in the Minnesota Wild organization, they changed my life forever when they drafted me and time has flown now after three years and they’ve done a lot for me, my development and my career so far and I’m grateful for that, but to be traded to a new professional organization with a fresh start, fresh for everyone and fresh eyes watching you, it’ll be different for everyone but it’ll be challenging at times but the new vibe will be different for sure and I’m excited for that.”

While Tuch was with the Wild organization he was fortunate enough to be pulled up at the end of last season for six games. He proved himself to the coaches, and the other players that he knew how to play and how to play well and that caught the eye of the owners of the Golden Knights too. Now with Tuch moving teams he still has the same outlook for himself on how he wants to be perceived by his new team. The team invited him to come to the rookie and prospect camps but said it wasn’t necessary for him to go, however Tuch still considers himself a rookie in the NHL and thought about how much of an impact of going to these training camps would have on him and others. “I wanted to make a footprint in the organization and be a leader to the younger players and be a role model to those who are prospects for the team and someone who they can look up to.” It didn’t stop there, Tuch mentions that a few weeks ago the team decided to do a preview style road trip around the Rocky Mountain area where most of the new teams viewers would come from due to the broadcasting stations. Tuch said that “it was a 6-7 day trip, and went to 5 different cities. Vegas would fly a few players out for the cities and I went to Whitefish, Montana and I met Lanny McDonald and we did camps with younger players out there and fan meets to show who we are.”

One thing that Tuch did mention to us was that not only will it be a switch in weather for him. Long story short, he's always been in the cold: Central New York, Ann Arbor, Boston, and Iowa/Minnesota's tundra to warm and dry Las Vegas, but the whole atmosphere of the new location itself is something he's eager to experience. “Vegas has a lot of energy for all of their entertainment. They’re the entertainment capital of the world and they pride themselves on that. Oakland (Raiders) will move there next year but being the first professional team there is a special experience for sure and the fan base is increasing and very wide and I see that every day on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, everything. It’s going to be a special moment for sure when we have the first regular season game. Even the exhibition games and training camps are special right now. I haven’t been out there with the team yet and it hasn’t quite sunk in quite yet, but it’s going to be a special moment that I’ll never forget and I guess it’ll be imprinted in a lot of people’s minds when it does.”

For having such a whirlwind summer, Alex is making sure he still gives back to Central New York, stopping at several camps to offer tips and advice. “I try to get out to as many youth practices as possible help coaches, help family friends with their kids and hockey, and just helping them learn” Tuch said. “I remember when I was a little kid skating with a pro hockey player and it was eyes wide and mouth open and that’s what I love seeing. I wanna help them. I looked up to NHL players from Central New York when I was growing up and watched them make it and made an impact and that’s what I’m trying to do. I want to make an impact to them and show kids from Syracuse and Central New York that they can make it to the NHL if they work hard and have fun" he says.

When asked what advice he'd offer Central New Yorkers emerging in the game today, Tuch refers to something his dad kept saying: You have to work hard and have fun.

“If you’re not working hard I don’t want to say you aren’t wasting time but your parents put a lot in and sacrifice a lot. My parents sacrificed a lot for me and I want to show them that it was worth it and work as hard as I can on and off the ice. And obviously the have fun part and that’s what I’m trying to do every day on and off the ice. If you aren’t having fun then what’s the point. If you aren’t having fun then it’s not worth it, but if you are it’s the best game in the world.”

Alex Tuch’s season with the Las Vegas Golden Knights starts in just a few short weeks with their first preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks on September 17th at 2 p.m. Pacific Time and the first official home game in the new arena for the Golden Knights is on October 10th against the Arizona Coyotes at 7 p.m. Pacific Time.

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