From Ed Jeske to NCAA: Yellowknife hockey player wins national championship
Jack Works, the Yellowknife hockey player who scored the first goal at the Ed Jeske Arena at age nine, added another first to his list of accomplishments: winning a national college championship.
Works, 20, is a forward for the University of Denver Pioneers who beat the Minnesota State Mavericks 5-1 for the four frozen NCAA Championship on April 9.
“It was one of the coolest things ever, being on the ice after taking it all in. It’s like, yeah, it’s still hard to believe,” Works told CBC. Pioneer host Loren McGinnis after the win.
Works is a freshman studying business in Colorado, but grew up playing minor hockey in Yellowknife.
He was playing junior hockey in Alberta when he was taken over by the University of Denver.
Knowing he was signing with a team that had, at the time, won eight championships, and Denver’s excellent hockey facilities, it was “easy to say yes,” he said.
Works’ parents, Greg and Kathy, were in Boston for the game.
“It was so cool to share that with them too,” Works said.
He said some of his fondest memories go back to playing for the Wolfpack development team in Yellownknife, all the hockey parents and volunteers like Dan Schofield “who did a lot not just for me but for all kinds of other people. players.”
He said he told his teammates about this photo of him at the Ed Jeske Arena.
“It’s a great memory actually,” he said. “Scored the first goal in one of the rinks. It’s actually pretty cool, really special.”
Space to develop
One of Works’ fellow players with the Pioneers, Bobby Brink, signed an NHL contract with Philadelphia the day after the championship win.
Works said he hopes he has room to stand out and shine next season.
“I’m still a young man. So next year I hope I can play a bigger role, you know, being a guy who doesn’t play as much, maybe someone who killed penalties, for example, or hopefully support a piece a bit more,” he said.
He has some thoughts for young players from the North, who might have opportunities to play in the South.
Don’t let stress get to you, he says.
“You just have to have fun. Trust yourself, you know, you’re going for a reason. You’ve worked hard, so trust yourself.”