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Hockey Player of the Year Aiden Elliott of Alton




EAST ALTON – You can probably find Aiden Elliott at work this summer. Working hard.

Elliott, 16, has had a goal in mind for some time now. And when he leaves for Boston next month, that will mark the next chapter in his story of working toward that goal.

The National Hockey League.

Elliott, who turns junior this fall, spent the 2020-2021 school year like other Alton High School students. Going to class at home or learning online while trying to work, if and when they are held. And games? Hit and miss at best – all because of the coronavirus pandemic and the effect it had on all of us.

“I wasn’t sure if I would play for the high school team,” Elliott said.

Due to the pandemic, the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association originally canceled the season, but was later able to push it to spring and use a tournament format instead of a regular season.

Elliott’s AAA Blues team was a top priority, but Elliott managed to work it out so that he played most, but not all, of the Redbirds’ games.

“They asked me to play again and I was happy,” he said. “It’s fun to play with my friends. I had never actually played hockey with them much before.’

Elliott played 11 games for the Redbirds in 2021 in the MVCHA tournament format. Even though he is a defender, he still led the team with eight goals. As a freshman, Elliott scored 12 goals in 10 games with the Redbirds.

For Elliott, however, every time he could spend on the ice with his Alton High teammates was happy.

“It was fun,” Elliott said. “We didn’t win as much as we wanted, but I really enjoyed playing for my school.”

Alton went 3-2 in the group portion of the tournament and then was 0-2 in double-elimination play.

Elliott’s school is changing this fall. He will be enrolled at the North Shore Hockey Academy in Boston.

It will be a step toward achieving that goal of making it to the NHL.

“I’ll get a lot more exposure there,” Elliott said. “A friend of mind (from AAA Blues) told the coach about me there and we started talking.

“There are a lot of really good hockey programs, Boston College Boston U., Harvard. There aren’t that many opportunities here.”

The family will travel to Boston by car for the move. Players stay with host families during their stay there.

“I’m supposed to be there August 26, but we’ll probably be there a few days in advance.”

“(North Shore) just hired Sean Tremblay,” said Aiden’s mother, Jodie Elliott. “He’s the most winning junior coach out there and will be his advisor at the school, so that’s a great contact for him going forward.”

The North Shore Hockey Academy was launched in 2020. It features teams in Under-18, Under-16 and Under-14 divisions. The school, hockey and training facilities are all housed there. Much of the class work is online.

Elliott started skating when he was 2 years old and started playing hockey when he was 4. Darin Kimble, a former Blues player, was his coach for the first four years he played at Twin Bridges Hockey Club in East Alton.

Finally, at Kimble’s urging, he began playing hockey in Chesterfield for the Central States Squirt Division, and in the spring he played for STL Elite, a feeder team of the AAA Blues. He played on the Central States team for a year when he was invited to play hockey by the coach of the AAA Blues.

With just over a month to go before we leave for Elliott, training and preparing

“But I’ll be pretty busy,” he said. “I’ll miss my family and friends, but I’ll keep busy.”

Elliott is a student well enough to handle the new role and workload.

“I’m fine,” he said. “I’m excited, but a little nervous at the same time. With school and hockey, I think I can only come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas.’




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