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OJS Player Profile: Alexander Park

by Warren Rappleyea

Early in the season, Alexander Park was in and out of the Ottawa Junior Senators lineup as he sought to find his way in the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL). When the 6-4, 180-pound defenseman got a chance to become a regular following the pandemic, he made the most of it.

The Chatham, Ontario, native quickly became a mainstay on the Ottawa blue line and in the process, was a key player in helping his team compile the second-lowest goals against in the league. The righty shooter also showed a bit of offense, contributing a trio of goals and seven assists in 46 regular season matches. One of those tallies was a game-winner against the Rockland Nationals. He’s added five assists in the playoffs thus far.

“I was definitely in the sixth or seventh spot,” Park explained. “When we came back for the second-half we had a little bit of a shake-up on D. I realized that I needed to be one of those strong defensively, hard-hitting defensemen; someone the coaches could rely on in our own zone and not too focused on offense.”

Park and his partner, David Mabey, have proven to be sound and reliable while patrolling the blue line and their efforts during the regular season meant Ottawa permitted just one more goal against than the Hawkesbury Hawks, their opponent in the Bogart Cup finals.

A strong skater, Park is adept at reading plays and anticipating opponents’ moves. He’s also excelled at making first passes to transition to offense.

Park said Ottawa’s success in keeping the puck out of the net is a group effort. He noted that the Junior Sens have a team-wide commitment to two-way play and the forwards also do their part. Add to that the presence of William Desmarais in net.

“I can’t count how many times he’s bailed us out,” Park said of Desmarais. “He seems to do it every night. It was hard for me at first, but it’s always nice knowing you have a guy like William behind you. It seems crazy to me that he wasn’t the goalie-of-the-year for the league.”

Park began playing at an early age, mentored by his dad, Steve. Although the youngster started out as a forward, he found his hockey home on the defensive side of the ice. He joined the Junior Senators for the start of the 2021-22 campaign. Prior to coming to the capital, he played for the LaSalle Vipers of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, after playing locally for the Chatham-Kent Cyclones.

“This is one of the top programs in the country,” said Park, who as the Windsor Spitfires first round selection in the 2020 OHL draft. “The Junior Senators do a great job of developing players. I was very happy to come here.”

Both of Park’s parents are school teachers and he has chosen a route that he hopes will take him to an NCAA Division I hockey program, where he can play at a high-level, while also earning a degree. The 18-year-old currently takes courses at the University of Ottawa.

Junior Senators fans are pleased as well at the site of the big righty, who wears number two, a digit also worn by a famous defenseman, also named Park, who happens to be a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

“I had always worn number three,” Alexander Park chuckled. “I’m one of the new guys here so I got what was left for a number.”

No matter the number, Park has proven to be a valuable member of the team.