Alex Le was going to school to become an Emergency Medical Technician at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, when a classmate noticed his keen interest in hockey and suggested he get involved with a minor association.
Two weeks into his first trainer role, the Northwest Calgary team travelled to Chicago for a tournament. The camaraderie Le experienced between the staff and the team was enough to hook him for life.
“It hooked me. I wanted to be a part of that moving forward,” said Le. “I watched the Calgary Buffaloes win the Mac’s tournament in 2008 and I remember thinking, ‘that would be such a cool experience as a trainer - being down there, right in those benches in the Saddledome.’”
Le played minor hockey in Saskatoon until he was 13, before moving to Calgary in 1995. He joined the Northwest Calgary Athletics Association as the trainer for the Midget A Bruins in 2007. The following season he moved to the Calgary Buffaloes Hockey Association.
In 2019, life came full circle. Le celebrated in the benches of the Saddledome as the Buffaloes won the Mac’s Tournament.
Having worked with players of all ages between U14-U21 in the Buffaloes association, Le looked to the Team Alberta program to expand his trainer resume.
“Some of the trainers I had worked with said it was a great experience and I’m always looking to learn and grow. That year (2015), I decided to throw my hat into the ring and I was luckily accepted,” said Le. “The long days were worth every single second. Learning everything that Team Alberta puts into coaching and into developing players and setting them up for success. And not only that but it’s setting us trainers up for success as well. And I just loved that experience.”
Le has volunteered for Hockey Alberta on several occasions, including as the U16 Equipment Manager and Trainer in 2015 and 2016.
In his professional life, Le is employed by one of Hockey Alberta’s long-time partners and supporters, ATB Financial.
“What makes me proud about working with ATB Financial is that it’s purely Albertan. It’s a bank that’s here for Albertans, made for Albertans,” said Le. “We’re here to support Albertans through everything and I think that is the same as Hockey Alberta. We share the same core values, we share the same goals, just wanting to elevate Albertans in their journey.”
Part of Le’s journey includes growing up in Saskatchewan and Alberta as an Asian-Canadian.
“You face adversity here and there. Racial comments and racial slurs being thrown out whether it be by a parent or kid, it happens,” said Le. “Having to learn that and deal with that at such a young age. It was a good learning experience, it’s not the greatest learning experience, but it helps shape you as a person in terms of resiliency.”
Le believes there are kids out there that do experience the same adversity. His ability to relate to what they are going through and help navigate the situation establishes Le as a role model for the next generation. Through his trainer role, his hope is that he can help players be the best people they can be.
“I was listening to talk radio and they were talking about success in hockey and how it’s defined. The person who was talking about it said, ‘success doesn’t mean your child is playing in the NHL. Success is defined by is your child still using those skills in their life. If your child is 50 years old and still playing beer league hockey, that is success in hockey,’” said Le. “That really resonated with me because my Dad, who was an immigrant to Canada from Vietnam, turned on the TV one night and he saw the NHL and was captivated. He hoped that I could learn something from that and use it in my life. I didn’t make the NHL – I wasn’t even close. But those skills that I learned, like the cliché things about teamwork, have given me life skills.”
Le started in hockey at a young age and whether it be through playing, working as a trainer or the relationships he’s formed, he still finds joy in the game. Now married with a wife and two children, Le doesn’t see his life without hockey.