Flyers prospect Alt has an NFL pedigree

Mark Alt (right) battles Tyrell Goulbourne at camp. Alt was a star quarterback in high school.
Mark Alt (right) battles Tyrell Goulbourne at camp. Alt was a star quarterback in high school. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff)
Posted: September 10, 2013

As a youngster, Flyers prospect Mark Alt had one goal: following his father, John, and playing in the NFL.

"That was kind of a plan all along," he said after taking part in the Flyers' rookie camp the other day. "Obviously, when your dad plays, you kind of have that drive from him and from everyone around you. That's what you want to do, and that's what I grew up playing."

Alt's father was an all-pro offensive tackle with the Kansas City Chiefs, spending his entire 13-year career with the team. The younger Alt was an outstanding quarterback on his Minnesota high school team and helped it win a state title as a senior, when he was named the state's player of the year. Division I football scholarships were offered.

Though tempted to attend his father's alma mater and play football at Iowa, Alt decided to go a different route.

Instead, he played hockey at the University of Minnesota, helping the Golden Gophers earn two NCAA tournament berths in his three years at the school. He had a plus-18 rating in his final season.

"As I got older, I just realized I wanted to be professional in something," said Alt, who was also an all-state hockey player in high school, "and obviously I leaned toward hockey and that's what I followed. I had more opportunity in hockey and it was something I felt I was better at. I just liked it more. I just like the flow of the game, and football is more structured. . . . In football, my dad pushed and my family pushed, and hockey I just did on my own.

"I felt I had a better future in hockey."

Alt's career has been on the fast track ever since the Flyers acquired the former second-round pick from Carolina last January. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman signed an entry-level deal with the Flyers in April and bypassed his senior collegiate season.

Alt, who will turn 22 next month, had two points, including a goal, in a six-game stint with the AHL's Phantoms last season. He is a long shot to start this season with the Flyers, but he is certainly on their radar.

"He moves well; his gaps are good," coach Peter Laviolette said. "He moves the puck well and he's a strong skater, so he's visible out there."

Alt, a righthanded shooter, said his days as a high school football player have helped him on the ice.

"Being a defenseman and having everybody in front of you is the same thing as a quarterback," he said. "You drop back and are able to read plays, make plays."

The Flyers will have a logjam of defensemen when the big-league team's camp opens Thursday.

"I can only control myself and how I play, so that's my mind-set," Alt said, adding that he needs to be "more defensively sound" to have a chance to earn a roster spot. "In the defensive zone, a lot of times I get around too fast. I have to be more in control."

Breakaways

Alt and the Flyers' rookies will face the Washington Capitals' prospects Monday at 3 p.m. in Arlington, Va. Carsen Chubak and Anthony Stolarz will divide the goalie duties for the Flyers.

Cal Heeter, the other goalie at rookie camp, is expected to play in some exhibition games with the big-league team.


Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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