Getting drafted into the National Hockey League is a pretty big deal. Getting drafted by your hometown team is the icing on an already pretty sweet cake.
“The entire thing was cool. Then when I got picked and saw it was the Wings, that made it even better,” said Alec Regula, who was selected 67th overall in the third round by the Detroit Red Wings at this summer’s draft.
Growing up, the defenseman was often on the other side of the ice at Joe Louis Arena, when he went to work with his dad, Chet, who was the Red Wings' dentist.
While the 18-year-old was drafted by the Red Wings, don’t expect to see his name on their roster right away. Currently, he’s back with the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League, who he played with last season.
So, how exactly does this work then? Regula said that even though he was drafted by the Red Wings – which means he can’t go and try out for another NHL team – the likelihood of him donning the red and white jersey is still a few years out.
“These next couple years are more about development than anything,” he said. “After that, I’ll just try to compete for a spot on the team.”
And what would it be like to play with the team he grew up watching? You probably already know the answer.
“That would be a dream come true,” he said. “It’s still a ways off and it’s something I work at every day, making that dream come true.”
He’s been working on fulfilling said dream since he was a kid. After his parents took him to open skates at three, he fell in love with the ice, and hockey soon followed.
Regula first played in the well-known Honeybaked and Compuware programs before joining the team at Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School, where he played his freshman and sophomore years of high school.
“Cranbrook was awesome,” he said. "I got to learn a lot there with a bunch of seniors on the team and older guys. That’s where I grew and developed a lot.”
During his time at Cranbrook he not only got to play under the legendary coach Andy Weidenbach – and with his older brother – but also helped them win the 2015 Division 3 state championship.
After his sophomore year at Cranbrook, Regula went on to play for the Chicago Steel in the United States Hockey League.
That season is where one of his favorite hockey memories comes from.
“Winning the Clark Cup with the Chicago Steel is probably something I’ll never forget,” said Regula about his 2016-2017 season.
That was also the season when Regula – who lists the Knights’ Dale and Mark Hunter, head coach and general manager, and Dylan Hunter, the team’s defense coach, as his biggest hockey influences – realized that playing the sport he loved so much as a career could become a reality.
And now it has. His season so far with the Knights has been off to a really great start, he said. At the time of our interview, the team was 10-4 and had just gotten two of their players back from the NHL.
“We’re looking like a pretty good team this year,” Regula said.
As our interview came to a close, Regula commented that we had covered most of the tracks of his career thus far. If the next few years have anything to say, there will be a lot more tracks to cover.