Speirs Proves a Perfect Fit with Yellowjackets’ Hockey
When the East Haven boys’ ice hockey team became a co-op last year, the Yellowjackets welcomed players from other towns to help round out their roster. One of those athletes is Alec Speirs, a junior at Old Lyme High School who’s serving as an alternate captain for the Easties this season.
Alec wasn’t able to play hockey in his freshman year, because Old Lyme doesn’t have a team, and wasn’t involved in any sort of a co-op arrangement at that time. However, through the efforts of new Athletic Director Hildie Heck and a passionate group of parents, Old Lyme made a push to become a co-op last winter. The quest came to fruition, and now Alec is in his second year as a member of the East Haven-Old Lyme-Old Saybrook-East Hampton-Morgan-Valley Regional ice hockey squad.
“Honestly, it felt great. When I first met the team, everyone was welcoming,” Alec says. “They made it so much easier. They brought me in, and we were like an instant family. Playing with them on the ice was a great opportunity.”
Alec is the only Old Lyme player on the team this year, but last season, he had the opportunity to compete alongside fellow classmates Matt Henderson and Jean-Luc Bolduc. Alec says joining the Yellowjackets with two familiar faces helped make for a smooth transition.
“It was great to have some people I knew,” says Alec, who also plays lacrosse at Old Lyme. “Coming in with my other two friends from my town that I knew it made it so much easier to adjust. It was a great fit.”
Alec is a forward who plays on the wing for East Haven. As a sophomore, Alec played more of a complementary role on offense, using his creativity to set up scoring chances for teammates. This season, Alec has been putting the puck in the net with regularity and has two hat tricks to his credit.
“Last year, I played more for assists and I tried to find more passes, but this year, I need to take more of a stand and be more of a shooter,” Alec says. “I like playing wing, because other teams target the center more. It allows me to sneak around and find openings.”
Head Coach Lou Pane feels that Alec has been a wonderful addition for his program. Pane says that Alec brings a great mix of ability and intangibles to the Yellowjackets.
“He’s a hard worker, has a great personality, knows when to make it fun in the locker room for the boys, and also knows when to be serious when we need him to,” says Pane. “We’re very fortunate to have him come into our program. He’s an outstanding goal scorer and a pleasure to have in the locker room and out on the ice.”
It was a huge honor for Alec when he was named an assistant captain. Alec didn’t expect to be wearing the “A” on his jersey this year, but he feels proud that Coach Pane entrusted him to take on that title.
“It’s one of the really good feelings to know Coach Pane has faith in me to give me the ‘A’ in my second year of playing. It’s a really good thing,” says Alec. “I definitely do like being in control. I sort of like having the authority and like representing our team.”
Alec has played some youth hockey in East Haven, as well as in Norwich and Cromwell. He embraces the frenetic nature of the game.
“I’ve just always loved skating. That’s been the main thing that makes me enjoy hockey, “Alec says. “I also love that it’s a fast-paced sport. I’ve never been a person to sit still, so the quick shifts, quick breaks, quick thinking—everything about it is fast, and I love it.”
Alec loves hockey so much that plans to continue playing the sport after he graduates from high school.
“The more I play, I want to be the best I can. I challenge myself to be the best I can,” says Alec. “I do plan to play hockey in college and I really hope I can play hockey for as long as I can. All my life, I hope to be involved in hockey.”