Alex Iafallo brings winning, positive attitude to Winnipeg Jets

Alex Iafallo might not have been on top of the world when he was traded by the Los Angeles Kings to the Winnipeg Jets a week ago on June 27 as part of the package for Pierre-Luc Dubois, but the veteran forward was definitely in a good place when he found out he was switching uniforms, area codes and countries.

The 29-year-old forward told reporters he was camping with a couple of buddies in the mountains of the Eastern Sierras near Yosemite Park when he got the call.

“Kinda crazy, but I kinda heard over the few days that it was coming so I was kinda prepared, talking with family,” said Iafallo, who was excited after his initial conversation with the Jets’ front office. “Obviously it’s a big change in your life, but to come to a great organization, and to know people on the team and to have players who I have played with going with me – it’ll be a good experience and I’m pumped to get there.”

In addition to Kings teammates Gabriel Vilardi and Rasmus Kupari who were also acquired in the trade for Dubois, one of those “people” Iafallo knows is former University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs teammate, Neal Pionk, who was among the first to call to welcome Alex to the team.

“Right away I talked to him. Neal’s such a great guy. Pumped to be back playing with him,” said Iafallo, who also played spring hockey with Mark Scheifele while the two were growing up.

Iafallo is one of those kinds of players who can move up and down the lineup, much like Nino Niederreiter and Vlad Namestnikov. But in addition to that versatility, the six-foot-tall 200-pound left winger also brings to Winnipeg the reputation of being a “glue guy” because of his leadership, work ethic and attitude.

“I had a lot of great coaches along the way, telling me to work hard and everything works out,” was Iafallo’s explanation for how he developed that persona. “I just try to be a good example on and off the ice. Just try to work as hard as I can in every area of the game.”

Consistency is another appreciable trait for Iafallo who played two seasons for Fargo of the USHL prior to suiting up for UMD. Iafallo has been a goal scorer in the mid-teen range, and a 30-40 point producer for all of his last five seasons with the Kings.

“I just take care of the mental part of the game, I guess. Always be aware of how the game’s changing. Obviously, you’ve got to take care of your body, you’re doing training and all that stuff.”

And while it would be understood if there was some trepidation for a player to be leaving the bright lights, the beaches and the sunshine of L.A., Iafallo, under contract for two more years at US$4 million per season, is coming to Winnipeg with the idea of helping the Jets win a Stanley Cup.

“It’s definitely great to talk to (Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff) and to hear (the team’s) insight about everything — especially that they wanted me — to get traded to a great team, organization like this,” said Iafallo.

“Playing against Winnipeg, going into it, the fans are amazing, it’s a great atmosphere. Your goal is to win the Cup and that’s what I’m going to try and do.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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