For the second-straight season, Roblin’s Jakob Brook has been named the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Scholastic Player of the Year. The 18-year-old managed to balance a highly productive academic year while pursuing his hockey career, despite a number of injuries and a mid-season trade.
The 2019-20 season was anything but typical for the second-year WHL speedster. After losing out to Everett’s Dustin Wolf as the WHL Scholastic Player of the Year last season, Brook fell short once again this spring, as fellow goaltender Dylan Garand took the Daryl K. Seaman Memorial Trophy from Wolf, outlasting Brook in the league general manager and head coach voting. Now in consecutive springs the 6-foot-2, 185-pound forward heads into the summer as the Eastern Conference Scholastic Player of the Year.
Brook injured himself during the offseason last year and ended up undergoing surgery on his knee in August. Miraculously, he did make it back in time for the start of the 2019-20 season with his former Prince Albert Raiders – the 2018-19 WHL champion and Memorial Cup participant – where he went on to play 38 games for the Raiders before hurting his other knee. Prior to his injury, 2020 NHL Entry Draft eligible prospect collected three goals, nine points and 26 penalty minutes.
Brook underwent surgery in mid-January, just being dealt to Regina as one of the major pieces of return in the Max Paddock deal, that saw GM John Paddock trade his nephew to the league-leading Prince Albert squad. It took Brook a month to recover from his meniscus surgery, but once fully healed he skated in eight games for the rebuilding Pats, picking up one goal and 15 minutes in penalties.
Through this trying season, the 18-year-old maintained an overall 95.2 percent grade point average, while earning a 93.5 percent average in his core courses of Physics (97), Biology (93), Pre-Calculus (92) and English (92). Brook also studied Life Transitions, Physical Education and History throughout the season. He has been able to complete his academics through Manitoba Distance Learning.
Since being dealt to Regina, Brook has participated in course work with Michael A. Riffel Catholic High School. “Jakob is conscientious student who is able to balance his academic and hockey commitments,” said Pats academic advisor Dwayne Hinger. “His work ethic, maturity, and diligence to his class work make him an exemplary leader for those around him.”
Despite being shipped away from a contending team in the Raiders, Brook will most definitely enjoy the extended 2020 offseason, where he will continue to rest up and recover from his various knee injuries, and undoubtedly hit the books.
Players of Manitoban relevance to win the Scholastic Player of the Year award:
2006-07: Keith Aulie, Brandon Wheat Kings
2009-10: Adam Lowry, Swift Current Broncos
2012-13: Josh Morrissey, Prince Albert Raiders
2013-14: Nelson Nogier, Saskatoon Blades
2015-16: Tanner Kaspick, Brandon Wheat Kings