Like Father Like Daughter; Alex Carpenter Is Carving Out Her Own Legacy
Following in her father’s footsteps is a
phrase that Alex Carpenter has heard a lot over the course of her young life. Despite the high expectations and her
young age, the 16-year-old daughter of former NHL star and current VJW coach
Bob Carpenter has already began creating a hockey legacy of her own.
This past spring, Carpenter was one of
18 players to compete on the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team at the
International Ice Hockey Federation World Women's Under-18 Championship.
One of the driving offensive forces for the team (see
photos right courtesy of USA Hockey and Matthew Manor),
helped her team to a silver medal finish as the team fell by a score of
overtime to Canada at the Walter Bush Rink in Woodridge, Illinois. Team
finished the tournament with a 4-0-0-1 record (W-OTW-OTL-L) after
first loss in the three-year history of the event. In that championship
showdown, Carpenter put her team on the scoreboard first by netting a
goal less than a minute into the first period.
“We have been fortunate to have Alex play for our
over the years,” said VJW Director of Player Development Fred Devereaux.
“From an early age,
she showed a tenacity and determination that you just knew would
something special. She has a lot of her father in her which says it
Side by side is exactly how you’ll find Alex and Bob.
Warrior, Alex played for her father most recently as part of the VJW ’94
squad. Upon entrance into high school, however, Alex has taken her game
next level by competing on the varsity girl's team at The Governor’s
Academy and by
serving as a member of several US National teams.
Team USA's 15-0 defeat of the Czech Republic at the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Women's Under-18
Championship this past March, Alex shared the ice with her father once
again. Bob was on hand to present members of each team with Player of
the Game awards.
For more insight into this special family bond, here
article that appeared in the Boston Globe.
not to be missed By Barbara
Matson Globe Staff / March 2, 2009
Alexandra Carpenter was 6 years old
when she first beat her father at his own game.
It was in the backyard of the family's
home in Glenmont, N.Y. Bobby Carpenter, retired after 18 years in the
moved his family there while he took a run at coaching with the Albany
Rats of the American Hockey League. Alex, the oldest of Bobby and
children, was not yet involved in an organized hockey program, but she
the games of shinny on their backyard rink.
Of course, her famous father could
score whenever he wanted, and sometimes just for fun, he'd pop in a few
goals to put the pressure on. Alex got mad. So her father offered to
rules: He couldn't score by shooting the puck straight into the net, he
bank it off the boards.
"So she came down the ice and then
she lost the puck [to me]," said Carpenter. "The minute she lost the
puck, she didn't come try and get it, she went straight back down the
knowing that either this way, or this way, it was coming off one of
boards. This is 6 years old. That's a smart athlete. At 6 or 7 years
already knew how to take advantage of something. That was unbelievable."
Call it hockey sense, or the ability to
see the whole ice - it can't really be taught. It comes from somewhere
"A lot of hockey players can get
better, but if you're a really smart player - a really smart athlete -
it right from the beginning," said Carpenter.
Covered in glory
Bobby certainly had
extraordinary talents from the
beginning. The stories of his dazzling scoring moves came busting out of
Peabody rinks when he was still a kid, tales like the day he engineered
goals in the first five minutes of a junior high game, scoring two and
up two more. When he led St. John's Prep to the 1979 state championship
sophomore, he had the attention of college coaches and NHL scouts. The
newspaper and magazine stories multiplied, including a cover story in
Illustrated, which dubbed him "The Can't-Miss Kid."
By the time he was a senior, Bobby had
his pick of colleges, as well as the NHL; he was chosen third overall in
1981 draft by Washington, the highest an American player was ever taken.
College or pro, he couldn't miss. He chose the NHL, and he and Julie,
dating when she was 13 and he was 15, began the odyssey that took them
Peabody to Washington to New York to Los Angeles to Boston, back to
to New Jersey, and to Albany.
Bobby was an assistant for the New
Jersey Devils, on the track to a head coaching job, when the lockout
the league in 2004-05.
"You think you do a lot with your
kids - they were into baseball, lacrosse, karate, everything - until we
that lockout year," said Bobby, who also has two younger sons, Robert
Brandon. "I realized then I wasn't doing that much [with the kids]. I
wasn't really into the coaching anymore, I was into what my kids were
knew if I got back to [the NHL] schedule I would not have done my job
because I knew I was missing all these things."
In New Jersey, Alex was playing Little
League as well, but her hockey options were limited as she got older.
reached the national tournament twice with the U12 and U14 New Jersey
but finding a high school with good hockey was almost impossible. In
she could have her choice.
So the Carpenters came home and Bobby
put coaching on hold to be a dad.
"I was born here," said Alex.
"I moved around quite a few times - I moved about four times and this is
home, this is great. I love everything about here."
The family business
Now, Alex Carpenter is a high
school sophomore, playing on
the varsity at The Governor's Academy. She looks just like her father,
for the blonde ponytail sticking out from under her helmet. But she has
same round face, the same sturdy frame, and she plays center, just like
dad. In a game against the Rivers School last week, the one time the
left her unattended near the net, she looked even more like her father -
a feed from Alanna McDonough and roofing a shot into the top left
It was a pure hockey shot: instinct and
"In terms of describing her hockey
talents that maybe separate her from normal players, she has probably
vision of anyone I've coached at the girls' level," said Governor's
Babe Ceglarski, who will lead his 18-7-1 team in the quarterfinals of
NEPSIHA Division 2 championship Wednesday when it hosts Proctor.
"She has the ability to find
people on the ice and she knows where her teammates are at all times,"
said Ceglarski, son of Len, the BC coaching legend. "She has great
With pucks in the air, she has an uncanny ability to knock them down
Alex is 14 years old, a young
sophomore, but she already has a thick hockey résumé, including the MVP
from last year's championship, which the Governors won. In 26 games this
season, Carpenter has a staggering 57 goals and 97 points. Moreover, her
linemates - also sophomores - have a bucketful of points, too: Kate
42 goals and 35 assists, and McDonough has 13 goals and 43 assists.
"During a game, I usually look for
the open people," said Alex. "Most of the time I can work with my
linemates really well. I have two great linemates. We make perfect
Governor's had only 12 players on the
girls' team last season; this year there are 13.
"We're essentially a two-line
team," said Ceglarski. "The benefit that I have is that she's on the
ice every other shift."
Time to savor
Bobby Carpenter carried
big-time expectations with him to
Washington. He delivered 32 goals in his rookie season 1981-82, and he
the first American to score 50 in a season in 1984-85, when he had 53
Capitals. He won a Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 1995.
Alex's ability begs the question: Did
Dad teach her something special or was she born with it?
"I played hockey mainly because my
dad did and I used to watch him growing up," said Alex, who, according
Bobby, learned to skate from her mother, a figure skater. "We're a
family. My dad grew up playing. My brother played and I joined his team
was 7, I think.
"I played on boys' teams most of
my life and most of them did know [who Bobby was], so they were excited.
girls I played with, they do know he was an NHL player but I don't think
know what significance he had there. After a while, knowing me, they
more about him."
Bobby said Alex is a natural at all
sports. She was on a soccer travel team in Albany for three years that
can't remember losing a game, last year she was all-league in softball
freshman, and "you should see her play basketball," her dad said.
"It's fun to watch," said
Bobby, who leaves the hockey coaching to Ceglarski.
"Last year, when Alex wanted to
talk to me about something, she asked [her dad] if he would talk to me
said no, that's your job now," Ceglarski said. "After that, our
relationship has been improved and grown. He did her a big favor by
grow up. He's her biggest fan and keeps that in perspective."
Also watching the game against Rivers
was USA Hockey's chief talent scout, Ben Smith.
"She's way ahead of people in her
age group because of her understanding of the game," said Smith, the
former US Women's Olympic hockey coach. "It's interesting that her
has been recognized, and obvious, so early - just like her father. It's
the way she's always in the right place at the right time, just like her
father. She's making a good first impression. Of course there are miles
before we sleep."
Alex hasn't spent much time thinking
about the future.
"I'm just focusing on what's going
on right now," she said. "I'm focusing on the next game and I'm
focusing on the New Englands coming up. I have ideas, but I don't really