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January 31, 2014

Alex Carpenter had Olympic dream from Day 1

Alexandra “Alex” Carpenter never had played hockey when she told her father she wanted to be in the NHL like he was.

Her father, Bobby Carpenter, the first American drafted first overall in the NHL, said that wasn’t possible. So she asked for an alternative.

“Play in the Olympics,” he told her.

“From that point on, at 5 or 6 years old, that became my goal,” she said.

Alex started playing hockey when she was 7 years old and soaked up everything about the sport. The skating, the passing, the shooting, the team camaraderie: Alex loved it all.

When her father started coaching in the pros, she’d go to practices, watching how they conducted their business and carried themselves and let that seep into her hockey consciousness, too.

Now working for the Toronto Maple Leafs in player development, Bobby Carpenter scours U.S. college hockey teams and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for potential pro prospects. When he evaluates a player, one of the things he looks for is intelligence of the game. If the player has “hockey sense,” as it’s known, and desire, almost anything else can be fixed.

He knew that his daughter had both from a young age.

“You could tell very early on that Alex had a system on the ice and her desire was always there. Right away, she had the two most important things,” said Carpenter, 50. “You either have those things or you don’t. She had them.”

Fast forward to high school, where she broke record after record.

Alex finished her high school career at Governors with more than 400 points and won back-to-back Independent School League MVP honors.

Doing her due diligence and wanting to stay local, she narrowed her college choices down to Harvard and Boston College.

“BC just struck me right,” she said. “All the girls on the team were unbelievable.”

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