All hockey players have dreams and that’s a good thing. If you’re playing Jr. A anywhere in the country, chances are you’ve spent your life dreaming of one day playing the NHL.
There is definitely another group that wants to make it in the Canadian Hockey League and there are a lot who dream of playing NCAA Division 1 someday.
Then there’s Waywayseecappo’s Jaymes Knee. He’s one of the best forwards in the MJHL, Last year he had 19 goals and 58 points (13thoverall in scoring) in 56 games as he helped a consistently improving Wolverines team finish 32-21-5-2 – fifth in the league and solidly in the playoffs.
But Jaymes doesn’t spend time a lot of time thinking about playing NCAA Division 1 hockey when his time in the MJHL expires. Knee is focused on remaining in Canada.
“I really want to play USPORT when I’m finished or maybe NCAA Division III,” he said without hesitation. “Sure, I’d love to play D-1 if I could and I’d certainly accept an offer if anybody made one, but I’ve been focused on playing USPORTS, somewhere in Canada, when I finish playing in the MJ. I think that would be great.”
Make no mistake, Knee isn’t a guy who has settled. Not a chance. If an NCAA Division 1 school came calling, he’d jump at the chance to play at that level. However, Knee is also realistic. He knows how tough it is to get a D-1 scholarship and he knows how good you have to be to get an offer.
And while Knee is pretty good, he’s played with against players who have gone on to the NCAA and he knows the level of skill, talent and the extra special amount of luck it takes to get a D-1 scholarship offer.
That’s why his focus is on keeping the Wolverines on the right track and maybe one day getting rewarded with a USPORT scholarship offer.
“My goal is realistic I think,” he said. “I want to keep playing the game at a competitive level for as long as I can, but I also know that there is nothing wrong with playing the game at the USPORT level. I’d love to be lucky enough to play at a Canadian university.”
Knee grew up playing the game in Brandon. He was about five when he got involved with the Timbits organization and he never looked back. He played plenty of spring and summer hockey, was good enough to make the Brandon Wheat Kings’ Triple A Bantam and Midget teams and was eventually recruited and signed by the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings.
In his first year in the MJ, he made the league’s All-Rookie team with the Kings after scoring 12 goals and 37 points in 58 games in his first season.
However, 10 games into his second season, he was traded to Waywayseecappo and has been overwhelmed by the experience.
“I love playing there,” he said. “I think it’s the best place to play Jr. A hockey anywhere. We have great fans and we get so much support. My billets are great and I just love the way we’re treated by the organization and the community.
“It was so awful to have the season called off because of this COVID-19. We had a pretty good team. Our coach and the scouts had put together a really good club and I thought we could have done something special in the playoffs.
“In the meantime, I’ve just playing a lot of Fortnite,” added the 5-foot-11, 170-pound forward. “I’m trying to work out as much as I can and trying to get my run in every day.”
Knee who will be back in Wayway next season definitely has an admirer in his head coach, Taylor Harnett.
“Jaymes is an excellent teammate,” Harnett said. “He’s one of our captains. He went through his ups and downs when we first acquired him a couple years ago, but he was very good this year and we expect him to have an even better season next year.”