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King of the Jungle

02/08/2016, 9:30am CST
By Mike Doyle

Q&A with Alex Lyon, the most interesting man in college hockey.

Baudette native Alex Lyon goes to Yale, he plays squash, he’s an experimental chef, he’s not on social media, he grew up on an island until he was 7, and he is an elite hockey goalie.

Lyon’s play has garnered him numerous accolades, but the introspective junior isn’t much for the spotlight. Meet the most interesting man in college hockey.

MHJ // Why Yale?

Alex Lyon: It was a good fit. They were very good at the time and I really liked the coach, Keith Allain. I can’t say enough about him. It’s tough to pass up the combination of academics and athletics.

MHJ // Your dad, Tim, went to Yale. Any other family connections?

AL: Actually, I’m a couple of generations down. My dad, my grandpa and his dad—so I’m a fourth generation.

MHJ // Have you chosen a major?

AL: Yes—political science.

MHJ // Five presidents have come from Yale. Is getting into politics something you’d ever be interested in?

AL: No, it’s never really appealed to me. Plus, in politics, there’s the whole aspect of being an orator and showing off yourself if you actually want to become a politician. And that’s not something that has ever really interested me.

MHJ // Funny you say that, because, as a goaltender, there’s a spotlight on that position. Are you more comfortable because you have all that gear on and you’re playing a sport?

AL: Yeah, for me, I like to think of it as just a job I have to do. I don’t really enjoy too much flash or anything like that. It’s just another part of the team and I’m trying to help the best way I can.

MHJ // So are you really annoyed by interviews like this?

AL: No, no. I enjoy meeting new people and in professional sports the media gets a bad rap sometimes. But for the most part, in college sports, everyone is really nice and it’s cool to reach out and meet new people. I’m just not much of a social media or interview guy, but I do enjoy the connecting aspect of it.

5 FAVORITE MEALS TO COOK (AND THEN EAT)

1. Steak and sweet potatoes.

2. Pan-seared salmon.

3. Quinoa and chicken breast.

4. Chicken spinach salad with cranberries.

5. Chicken and penne in vodka sauce.

MHJ // You’re not big on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook?

AL: No, I try to stay away from social media, just because of all the horror stories you hear. For me, it keeps my life much more simple.

MHJ // Did you really grow up on an island in Lake of the Woods and take a boat to school?

AL: I lived on an island until I was 7 and I have an older sister (Sam) who was on the island until she was 12. I only went to school for one year, but it was a one-room schoolhouse. As far as the solidarity type of thing, I don’t remember too much of it to be honest. I think my parents were greatly influential on how I turned out. I think my introspectiveness and attitude came from them.

MHJ // Back to the ice. How do you maintain the flexibility necessary at the goaltending position?

AL: In the last six months I changed a lot of my routines and my eating habits. It’s made a huge difference. It’s all about persistence. I think generally, everybody knows what the right things are to do, but it’s hard to do them sometimes. The biggest thing for me has been the choice: I can either go to the gym and get a stretch in or shower off and go sit at home for three hours. I think taking the time and doing things the right way is a big piece for me.

"THERE'S NOTHING MORE VALUABLE AND MORE REWARDING THAN BEING THE HARDEST WORKING PLAYER ON YOUR TEAM. I THINK THAT'S THE BEST ADVICE I COULD PROBABLY GIVE TO ANYBODY."

MHJ // What have you been doing differently with your diet?

AL: Nothing crazy, just a lot less pasta and burgers. Instead of eating a piece of pizza, I have a salad. I still really enjoy eating bad foods (laugh), but I’ve really made a conscious effort to clean up my diet.

MHJ // Have to ask:. Do goalies deserve their reputation for being a little … different?

AL: (Laugh) Yeah, I don’t know. I’ve thought about that a lot. I go through phases where I say, “Goalies are just like everybody else.” But then I’ll meet one goalie and I’ll think, “Man, goalies are weird.” I like to think that goalies hold some unique characteristics over other athletes and other positions. It’s just such a unique position that your mind just doesn’t work in the same way.

MHJ // What are some of those unique characteristics?

AL: The position is so unique that it’s like being a quarterback in football. There are just not that many positions in sports where you’re on an island by yourself. You’re part of a team and you want to help the team, but it’s a notion of singleness. I think that creates a different mentality for goalies. You have to bare a little more pressure in some cases and perform a little different role on a team.

MHJ // What other interests do you have?

AL: I quite enjoy cooking. It’s kind of my secret talent. My first two years, I ate in the dining halls in our residential college. Now that I live off campus, I do all my own cooking. I got very experimental this summer.

MHJ // What kind of things were you trying?

AL: I had some bizarre experiments with seafood. I got pretty creative with salmon. I made my own pasta sauces, really healthy, from scratch.

MHJ // Being from the Walleye Capital of the World, you must have some experience there.

AL: I do. My parents came the weekend of our home opener and my dad brought me 10 walleye fillets. I haven't broken them out yet, but in the next couple of days I'll be cooking up walleye for sure.

MHJ // Chef--how do you recommend we prepare walleye?

AL: The best, in my opinion, is a simple batter and fried. But I bake it mostly now. Put it on tinfoil with a couple of lemons and let it bake.

MHJ // Any tips for young hockey players out there?

AL: There's nothing more valuable and more rewarding than being the hardest working player on your team. I think that's the best advice I could probably give to anybody. 

Tag(s): Home  February 2016