One of the worst things that can happen to an elite athlete is an injury. Especially one that's rather serious and forces a player to miss several months of action right in the thick of his junior hockey career. That's exactly what happened to Roblin's Jakob Brook. He was injured last summer when he was trying to make Team Canada, the team that would compete at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
So in August, the Roblin native had surgery on his right knee. After months of rehab and hard work, Brook would make his return to the Prince Albert Raiders lineup, a team he won the Western Hockey League title with the season before. The speedster ended up playing 38 games with Prince Albert where he added up nine points (3G).
It seemed that all was good and Jakob was on his way to a career-season. However, that wasn't the case because his body wasn't holding up its end of the bargain. Brook's left knee was giving him troubles and on a Thursday in early January, Jakob had surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
In the midst of all of this, Brook was traded to the Regina Pats. On January 9, he was the centre piece in a deal that saw Regina also nab two prospects. After his surgery, Brook packed up his bags and called Regina his home and that's where his rehab continued.
"It was definitely a different season for me and I hope I never have to go through this kind of thing again," said Brook. "I came into camp with Prince Albert injured and that delayed the start of the season and then I missed more action because of my second surgery, it was pretty unfortunate. With that said, there was nothing I could do about it, I needed to get the surgeries done so I dealt with it."
Going back to Prince Albert in that trade was Max Paddock, an all-star goalie who played every single game of his junior career with Regina prior to the trade. Paddock grew up playing his hockey in Brandon and he was fantastic in 19 games with Prince Albert. He had a 1.35 G.A.A and a .935 save percentage.
So in the end, Brook played 122 games with Prince Albert and he won a league title in the process and played in his first Memorial Cup. The trade led Brook to the Pats, a team that was in the middle of a complete rebuild.
Regina went 21-34-6-2 this season, but the future is certainly bright for a team with many young stars including Brook and he can't wait to get next season going.
"That trade kind of came out of nowhere that morning, but when I heard it was Regina, I was really excited," continued Brook. "I knew I would get more of an opportunity with the Pats and I'm pretty excited about it."
"I didn't spend a ton of time in Regina; however, the time I spent was awesome, it's a great organization," he added.
So more than a month after Brook was acquired by Regina, he was set to make his Pats debut. The team welcomed the Saskatoon Blades to town on Friday, February 21, and Brook was in the lineup. He ended up playing eight games with Regina to end the season and he chalked up one goal.
"It felt good to get in the lineup, it took a few games to get my feet wet but as the games went on, I felt better every single time I hit the ice," he added.
Not only does Jakob shine out on the ice, but he does in the classroom as well. The Roblin native had an incredible 95.2% average during the 2019-2020 academic year. Thanks to that, he was named the Regina Pats Scholastic Player of the Year and now he's the team's nominee for the WHL Scholastic Player of the Year. Last year, Jakob was named the WHL's Eastern Conference Scholastic Player of the Year so now he's trying to make that happen in back-to-back years.
"That felt great. I pride myself on my work ethic in the classroom and I want to always have good marks" he continued. "I've always been pretty good in school and my parents have always supported me. I'm really happy and it's an honour."
Brook also notes that he's 100 percent healthy after the two surgeries and months of rehab. And with the off-season now here, Brook is ready to make it big next season with Regina, a place that he grew to love during his short time with the organization.
"I'm definitely looking for a career year, I wasn't too satisfied the past two years when it came to production," he concluded. "I'm starting to feel more comfortable in this league and now it's about having a great summer and making something special happen next season."