What does it take to elevate your game? Ask Alex Cannon, who has had a burning desire since age 8 to play on a Detroit team.
Today, it’s safe to say that the Captain of the Plymouth Compuware’s UA15 team who has recently been asked to commit to the elite Oakland Junior Grizzlies U16 AAA team has reached his goal in a big way. Getting there took inspiration, perspiration, and great year-round coaching.
“It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Al has been called up to the Oakland U16 AAA team,” said coach Mark Olson. “That kid has drive, perseverance, and talent to burn. But most importantly, he’s always ready to do the work.”
Cannon began training with Coach Olson in the Athletic Mentors hockey program in 2011 at age 11, where he began sports-specific, age-specific training. His family called summer hockey camp the first “turning point” in his development.
“Al began to learn and understand the importance of training and nutrition in order to get better at hockey and take it to the next level. Because he was and still is so focused and driven, he took all of this and began to apply it to his everyday life,” said Lu Cannon.
For Al, the next few summers at Athletic Mentors summer hockey school gave him an opportunity to work out, stick handle and be on the ice with older kids, junior players and some pros. This pushed him even more to adopt winning practices and rise to the level of advanced play.
One pivotal moment for Al came after an on-ice training session with Eddie Ward. Ward sat all of the kids down and in essence said, “You have to stand out. If your parents have to ask you to stick handle and train you might as well not try to play at a high level. You have to want it and be self-motivated. If you are in a group of kids, you better do something out there that makes you get noticed by the coaches. It’s important to continue to workout all year long and stick handle. This will set you apart from the rest.” Al took those words to heart.
In 2013, he began to workout with Coach Olson all year long. For the first year he was the only one his age working out several times a week after school. He continued to ask to play in Detroit. Coaches Olson, Ward and his parents told him to be patient.
When Al became a Bantam that was the year they were allowed to check. The first game of the season, Al came on the ice with confidence ready to go. His first check was on a player probably 30 pounds heavier. The guy was not expecting it from him and the players, crowd and coaches sat there stunned. From that point forward, that is how Al has played: with ice vision, speed, confidence, strength, leadership and a strong team presence.
“Timing and patience is everything. The support, guidance, and development that Mark Olson, Eddie Ward and Athletic Mentors along with Al’s determination and hard work have opened doors,” said Lu Cannon.
Registration is now open for our summer Dryland Training, On-Ice Skills and Power Skating programs. Visit the Registration Center for details.