By Chuck Reherman
Alex Harris tried baseball. He tried basketball and soccer.
None of those sports that young athletes across the state play everyday.
So he turned to a sport that not a lot of Oklahomans play and it has turned out to be his “passion.”
Alex decided to play ice hockey and now in his fifth season on playing the sport, is looking to make his name in that field.
The 11-year-old Yukonite is playing for the Oklahoma City Oil Kings youth hockey club. He is playing in his first season for the U12 (Peewee Division) team after having a successful second year playing in the U10.
Alex got interested in the sport by following in his dad David’s footsteps. David Harris played youth hockey as well.
The Oil Kings got their start when the Oklahoma City Barons (the AHL team that played for a time before moving to a new city. The Barons were affiliated with the Edmonton Oilers and did help sponsor the youth teams.
The local clubs kept their name after the Barons moved on.
The teams play in Dallas Travel League (which is part of the Dallas Stars Hockey League). The team plays other clubs from Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, Odessa, Austin and Tulsa.
Alex and his team have five games remaining in the league and are trying to make the playoffs.
The club also plays in various tournaments around the country. The team just came back from a tournament in Chicago.
Alex plays right wing for the Oil Kings and is the fourth leading scoring on the team (and one of the youngest) with eight points (four goals and four assists) through 14 games.
“My dad had played it and since I was little he told me about the NHL and we watched it every night they were playing and slowly I got interested in playing,” Alex said. “All of the other sports didn’t have as much speed and contact for me as hockey has.
“I’m doing pretty good, I’m fourth on the my team in scoring even though I am kind of the new guy on the team,” he said. “But, I have known a lot of these guys that I am playing with. I have played other positions, but I like playing right win the best.”
He will play one more season in the U12 league and plans to move up to the next level, where the players get to body check. The U12 and younger teams are not allowed to body check during the games.
“I am looking forward to that part of the game,” he said. “I really like the speed of the game and working the puck up the ice and making the passes and plays.
“I had started skating when I was six to get ready to play hockey,” he said. “I concentrated then on getting onto a competitive team.”
Alex talked his dad into letting him play and David found that the Dallas League had a program called Learn Hockey, where you got all the gear and six weeks of playing for $100. If a player didn’t like it, they gave back to equipment and the league gave back the fee. If a player wanted to continue, they got to play for another 10 weeks.
And, it is becoming a growing sport in the area. In Alex’s division, their is a U12 major and a U12 minor team this year and also a U10 major and minor team. There was only one team last year.
“It is a great sport for kids to get into now,” David said. “They have made it really affordable as well.
“It was a great program for Alex to try out,” he said. “He really had tried everything else and just never did hit off with it. The first time he put on the skates, he didn’t want to get off. He has decided to really be serious about it.”
In his last season in the U10 league, Alex led his team in goals and assists and the team made the playoffs. Alex helped lead the team to a second place finish in the playoffs.
He is looking forward to next year when it will be his second year in the division. He has built himself a workout room complete with hockey gear and his goal is to work his way to the NHL and play for the Boston Bruins.
By Chuck Reherman