Alexander Kerfoot Preparing for Toronto's Spotlight

Alexander Kerfoot Preparing for Toronto's Spotlight

The following article was posted on on Thursday, July 25 featuring former Harvard University standout Alexander Kerfoot.

By TSN Staff.

TORONTO — Alexander Kerfoot has an idea of what's coming. He grew up alongside Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly, and his father owns a professional soccer team.

But actually living in the spotlight that comes with playing hockey in Toronto is something entirely different.

"I don't think you can really prepare for the market until you get here," Kerfoot said. "I'll just try to embrace it."

He's going to have to.

The soft-spoken West Vancouver, B.C., product was enjoying Canada Day with family in the province's interior when a call came from Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic telling the forward that he and blue-liner Tyson Barrie had been traded to the Leafs for centre Nazem Kadri and minor-leaguer Calle Rosen.

Kerfoot, who turns 25 next month, played junior-A in the BCHL, starred at Harvard University and spent the last two seasons in relative NHL anonymity in Denver.

Those days are now over, and he knows it.

"It's obviously nothing like what I've experienced," Kerfoot said ahead of Thursday's Smashfest charity ping-pong event in Toronto. "It's going to be different from that side of things, but at the end of the day it doesn't impact how you play on the ice.

"I don't think I can let it affect me."

Kerfoot does know a thing or two about being the centre of attention, even if it's begrudgingly.

His dad, Greg Kerfoot, is majority owner of Major League Soccer's Vancouver Whitecaps. The elder Kerfoot, who made his fortune in computer software, guards his privacy closely.

He prefers to stay in the background of the club's operations and doesn't give interviews. There isn't even a biography for the reclusive Kerfoot on the team's website.

His son is well aware that won't fly in Toronto.

"It comes with the business. You get used to it," said Alexander Kerfoot, who signed a four-year, US$14-million contract extension as a restricted free agent with the Leafs after the trade. "I'm more than happy to make appearances, to talk to the media, to do whatever's asked of me. That's one of the great things about this market.

"I'm looking forward to that."

Kerfoot, who has registered 34 goals and 85 points in 157 NHL games, was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 draft by the New Jersey Devils out of the second-tier BCHL, but chose instead to go the U.S. college route.

He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in his senior season at Harvard before signing with the Avalanche in 2017.

"Everyone has to make the right decisions for themselves," Kerfoot said of picking the Crimson over going pro. "I was primarily focused on academics to set myself up if hockey didn't work out.

"It was a great experience for me. I learned a lot, became a better player. I can't say enough good things."

That connection to Harvard, and not the trade to the Leafs, is what brought him to Toronto for Smashfest.

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