Alex Rawding has enjoyed his share of track and field success, but given the choice, his first love has always been hockey.
Rawding, an 18-year-old Greenwood resident, graduated from West Kings in June, where he was recognized as his school’s senior male athlete of the year.
By the time he graduated, he already knew he had been drafted by the Yarmouth Mariners in the fifth round of the Maritime Junior Hockey League’s 2014 draft.
Rawding has been playing hockey since he was five years old. He came up through the Western Valley minor hockey program before joining the Kings Mutual bantam Wildcats his last year in the bantam division.
After a year playing major midget on the South Shore, he spent last season with the midget AAA Wildcats, scoring 16 goals and 32 points in 34 regular season games and adding three goals and five points in five playoff games.
He also got eight games of MHL experience with Amherst, collecting one goal and three assists. The Ramblers’ coach moved to Yarmouth in the off-season. He knew Rawding and was instrumental in him being drafted.
Off to camp
Rawding, who is currently in Prince Edward Island for a two-week training camp, also plans to head to Yarmouth for the Mariners’ training camp. He’s optimistic about his chances of making the team.
Either way, however, his plan is to put his post-secondary studies on hold for a year, at least, and play Junior A hockey. Eventually, he hopes to go to the States and play hockey at an NCAA school, where he intends to study business.
“I don’t know which one right now. It depends on how much interest I receive, and whether I receive some scholarship money.”
There is a family precedent in attending university in the U.S.
“My older sister Hilary is attending the University of Vermont on a scholarship, so that’s why I’m leaning toward going to the U.S. as well.”
Meanwhile, Rawding is planning to ‘keep his hand in’ as a thrower, something he took up a few years ago. He’s enjoyed particular success in discus, which has proven to be a good ‘second career’ for him.
As much as he enjoys hockey, “it’s kind of a toss-up. There are things I like about both of them.”
Rawding got a taste of discus while playing at school and found he liked it. Today, he mainly does discus and shot put, but also enjoys javelin. This spring, he placed first in all three events at districts.
While he may end up having more of a future in hockey, his most solid results – and national experience – have come as a thrower. A solid performer throughout his school career, Rawding started setting school sport records at the intermediate level in 2012.
He has won the senior boys’ discus at NSSAF provincials the past two years, after placing second in intermediate boys’ in 2012.
Also in 2012, he joined Launchers Athletics and has seen his results, particularly in discus, continually improve. He has improved his personal best from 37.54 metres in 2012, which set a district record at the time, to a new district record of 44.54 this year, to a new personal best of 44.92 at this year’s regionals.
Rawding credits Launchers founder and head coach Steve Wohlmuth for his success. “Steve is a great coach,” he says. “He develops all his throwers very well. I give all the credit for the success I’ve had to him. He’s taken me from not a very good thrower two years ago to a fairly high calibre today.”
His throwing career has included two trips to the Legion national championships, as an individual in 2012 and as part of Team Nova Scotia in 2013, and a trip to junior nationals, also in 2013.
“I won the discus last year at Legions in B.C.,” he said. “Again, I did the shot put as well, for fun, and didn’t do so well.”
He could have gone to junior nationals again this summer.
“The competition was in Quebec, but it would have been a self-funded thing, so I decided to take the year off and concentrate on taking a run at the Pan-Am junior team next year.”