Alex Gerkin spends time as king of the ice

Christina Smith
Alex Gerkin protects the goal as a member of the Morton/Washington Icehawks.

Despite being his favorite sport, hockey is just one of many interests for Alex Gerkin, 16, who will be a junior at Washington Community High School in the fall.

Gerkin, who goalies for the junior varsity and varsity Morton/Washington Icehawks, had a perfect game against Notre Dame in the first round of the CIPHL playoffs.

Gerkin’s junior varsity team won the championship game for its 2007-08 season.

During the season, Gerkin’s coach chose him for the varsity goalie-of-the-year award.

“I started playing hockey in first grade and have served as the goalie for about six years,” Gerkin said.

Last year, Gerkin said he had three shut outs.

Det. Ro Gerkin, Gerkin’s mother, said in one hour-long game, her son faced 60 shots on goal and played seven total periods as goalie with both teams.

“A high average of shots in a game is 30,” Gerkin said. Gerkin was also named junior varsity member with the most saves and junior varsity rookie goalie of the year.

For his 2006-07 season, Gerkin said he had 228 shots made on him, compared to 109 shots on goal for the 2007-08 season.

In 2004, Gerkin received the Brian Callaway Memorial Award for goaltender of the year.

During Gerkin’s first two years on the junior varsity team, Ro said her son traveled to Chicago almost every weekend, adding Gerkin’s dad, Jim would take him to his games.

“The hockey leagues in Central Illinois do a good job of keeping parents and kids in check so things don’t get out of hand,” Ro said.

Jim said the hours hockey league players put into the program are intense.

“Many times, because of ice availability, they don’t start their practice until 7 or 8 p.m. and sometimes they start even later,” Jim said. “As a club sport, it does not usually get a lot of attention.”

Ro said her family used to watch the Pacers play in Peoria, which is now the Peoria Riverman.

“Alex has been going to hockey games since he was an infant,” Ro said. “We’ve always enjoyed hockey.”

Gerkin’s older sister, Ashley, 19, who attends Western Illinois University in Macomb also tried playing hockey.

“Ashley played for one season and decided hockey wasn’t for her,” Ro said.

Gerkin said hockey will be his main sport for his junior and senior years.

“Maybe I’ll receive a hockey scholarship,” Gerkin said. “That would be really nice.”

Other interests

During his freshman year, Gerkin played on WCHS’ junior varsity tennis team, but switched to baseball his sophomore year.

Gerkin participated in a fine arts field trip to New York June 9 through 16, which included an opportunity to see two Broadway musicals: the Lion King and Mary Poppins, a trip to the Statue of Liberty, Lincoln Center, an ethnic eating tour and a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

As a trumpet player in the high school’s band and marching band, Gerkin performed in Disneyland’s New Year’s Eve parade as a freshman.

Gerkin is also involved in Key Club and Spanish Club.

This year, Gerkin performed in the school’s production of The Wizard of Oz, as Professor Marvel, the commander of the flying monkeys, and as a munchkin. Gerkin also worked on the spring play’s tech crew.

Although he decided not to continue with baseball, Gerkin said he will stay involved with band and the theater productions.

When not playing sports or participating in other extracurricular school activities, Gerkin said he enjoys playing Xbox and computer games.