April 24, 2018

On the ice: Alex Bulla

After a successful football season, Alex Bulla—shown playing in the Dec. 7 game—is turning his attention to his favorite sport: hockey. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

After a successful football season, Alex Bulla—shown playing in the Dec. 7 game—is turning his attention to his favorite sport: hockey. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

The annual switch from tackling to checking

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

December 12th, 2013

This fall, he was an all-state defensive back for the Champlain Valley Union High football team and had three slots on the All-Division 1 Coaches’ Ream: punter; kick return specialist; and defensive back.

Now, senior Alex Bulla is captain of the boys’ hockey team, which won its first two games against Canadian opposition this past weekend at Cairns Arena.

And oh yes, this spring he will be picking up his lacrosse stick for the defending Division 1 champions.

Along with his commitments as an outstanding three-sport athlete and leader, Bulla is a student council member and one of two student representatives on the Champlain Valley Union High School Board.

And that is not all. He has another responsibility.

“On May 22, 2006, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes,” Bulla said in an interview last weekend. “I had no idea what it was or, for that matter, I did not know anyone with it.”

He called the news an added responsibility to his life that can occasionally be inconvenient, such as having to check his blood sugar levels some “eight to 12 times a day.”

But, as with so much else, Bulla has taken on the responsibility and then added something extra.

For the past two summers he has been a councilor at Camp Joslin in Charlton, Mass., a camp for boys with Type 1 diabetes. He became a councilor after attending the camp for five years.

“It was an opportunity to learn,” he said.

These past few weeks, Bulla has been dealing with the transitioning from football to hockey. And, he says, the change definitely is a challenge.

“It is a hard transition,” he explained. “In hockey, you use completely different muscles. You can be in the best of football shape, but once you are on skates, everything changes.”

He said a warm-up clinic for conditioning and skill work the week prior to hockey tryouts was very helpful.

Whatever he did, it worked. Following the back-to-back wins Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in which Bulla picked up a goal and assist, he said he felt good.

He said he also “feels great” about the Redhawks’ prospects for the coming season as they come off their 2013 trip to the Division 1 finals, where they bowed to South Burlington High.

“We have a good bunch of guys,” Bulla said. “It (the roster) is not just dominated by a senior class. It is a special group this year.”

The captain is one of five seniors. There are also seven juniors, six sophomores and six freshmen. Call that “classical balance.”

He added that the locker room dynamic is “what any team could want.”

Hockey is Bulla’s favorite sport. That makes sense, since he was born a Canadian outside of Toronto (Yes, he is very much aware of bombastic Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s news-making explosions) before coming to the states when he was 8 months old.

He started hockey at age 3 as a house mite. He started playing competitively at age 6.

“My parents drove me everywhere,” he said

Bulla played CSB (Chittenden, South Burlington) hockey from age 4 until 13 and then Glades for two years and now at CVU.

What comes next fall?

Bulla says he has applications at the University of Vermont, Bentley, Boston College and Queens University in Toronto.

He wants to study business.

And sports? “Maybe club,” he said. “I want to focus on academics.”

Just another responsibility. And he has plenty of experiences with those.

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