Deerfield alumnus Alex Killorn ’08, now a center on The Tampa Bay Lightning, made a name for himself this summer during the NHL fight for the Stanley Cup.
Killorn was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, although his family moved to an area just outside Montreal when he was very young. Later, he found his second home at Deerfield Academy. Looking back on what he imagined for himself and his future as a student at Deerfield and later at Harvard University, Killorn reflected, “I didn’t really have many expectations when I first arrived at Deerfield. I was hoping that I would get recruited to play hockey at a division one college. Once I got to Harvard, I really focused on having a career in professional hockey and committed myself to that. I had a great senior year and everything fell into place.”
Killorn always knew that he wanted to play hockey, and as he moved up from high school to college, he became more ambitious and sought to excel. However, Killorn did not always feel fit to play. He explained, “I was undersized and had a tough time adjusting to a sport that was so physical. I really worked hard in the gym… working out nearly 6 times a week. This helped me once I grew. I filled out.”
Speaking of his achievements, in 2012, after finishing his time at Harvard, Killorn went on to play for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL. While it was an incredible accomplishment, it was also an immense adjustment. Going from high school hockey to college hockey is one thing, but transitioning from college to a national league is “a lot different,” Alex explained. “Playing professional hockey is a grind,” he said. “Instead of 30 games a year you play sometimes over 100. That wears on your body… but you get used to it”
Killorn’s opportunity to play for Lighting was not one he was willing to pass up, regardless of the heightened intensity and pressure. Alex became the first ever Harvard graduate to score a goal in the Stanley Cup, but his “biggest goal to date was scoring the game-winner in game 7 of the eastern conference finals against Lundqvist,” a Swedish goaltender for the New York Rangers.
Killorn believes that his time at Deerfield prepared him well for an academic and athletic career. He noted, “I think [Deerfield] helped me out a lot academically in preparing me for Harvard… As a hockey player, it was a chance for me to really be showcased to different colleges… I also met a ton of friends who I am still very close to today.” Not to mention, the highlight of his Deerfield experience was “probably beating Choate at home.”
Throughout his hockey career, the best piece of advice that Killorn has received is “don’t worry about the big picture, just focus on what’s in front of you right now.” However, Killorn himself has his own advice for current Deerfield students that can apply to any realm, whether it be academics, arts, or athletics: “Have confidence in yourself. I try to have the mindset that I’m the best player on the ice whenever I play.”