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NEW WESTMINSTER – Lethbridge Pronghorn forward Jay Merkley is the Canada West WHL Grad of the Month for December after a big series earlier this month.

He is the first U of L player to win the award since Dustin Moore claimed the honour in January of 2012.

Merkley recorded a trio of goals and a pair of assists over the December 2-3 weekend, as the Pronghorns swept the Regina Cougars during the lone weekend of conference action this month before the midseason break.

After missing a full month of action with an injury, Merkley returned to the lineup for Lethbridge in mid-November and has been a consistent performer ever since. The second-year forward has eight points in as many Canada West games for the fifth-place ‘Horns, who finished their first half schedule with wins in five of six games, including three against nationally ranked opponents.

A veteran of 266 WHL regular season games, Merkley joined the Pronghorns for the 2015-16 season after four full seasons in the WHL, splitting time between the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Swift Current Broncos.

The Calgary, Alta. native enjoyed his best junior season during the 2013-14 campaign, registering 34 goals and 32 assists with the Broncos – good for fourth in team scoring.

Merkley is making the most of his WHL Scholarship, working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree, with the goal of completing a Bachelor of Education after degree.

The other nominees for the WHL Grad of the Month award were: ex-Kelowna Rocket and current Saskatchewan Huskie Jordon Cooke, ex-Kamloops Blazer Jordan DePape of the Manitoba Bisons, and former Calgary Hitmen and current Mount Royal Cougar Connor Rankin.