Former Kelowna Rockets goaltender Jordon Cooke is currently in his third season as a goalie for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Prior to that he spent four seasons (2010-2014) in Kelowna, two as the Rockets starter. In 149 games played with the Rockets he posted a remarkable record of 92-34-4-8 including going 37-7-0-4 in his final season (2013-2014). He was named the CHL goalie of the year that season.
Since moving on from the Rockets, Cooke has found success playing men’s hockey in the CIS for the Huskies. He was named U Sports goaltender of the year for a second-straight season. This regular season in 24 games Cooke had 19 wins while posting a 1.94 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. He was also named as a Canada West first team all-star.
Cooke is taking advantage of his WHL Scholarship. He’s allowed a year of schooling for each year he played in the WHL.
We caught up with Cooke to see how he’s doing putting his scholarship to good use.
KR: First of all you played 4 seasons with the Rockets, and now you’re into your 3rd season with the Huskies. Talk a little about what your WHL career did to prepare you for your school career, playing wise, as well as academically and socially?
JC: I was pretty fortunate to play in Kelowna for my whole WHL career. My first year in Kelowna, I still had to attend grade 12 and I was very lucky to have a coaching staff that enforced doing well academically during a hectic hockey schedule. When you have to balance high school and a 72 game hockey schedule and daily practices, time management skills become your most valuable asset and I am lucky to have developed that skill while I was with Kelowna. Now that I am currently in university, this skill has allowed me to have success in the classroom and excel on the ice.
KR: With 4 seasons in the WHL that means that you are awarded 4 years of schooling, correct? And if so how much has that helped you?
JC: Yes because I played four seasons with the Kelowna Rockets, I was awarded with 4 years of schooling. I, as well my many teammates, am very fortunate to benefit from the WHL scholarship. By the end of our degrees, most of us are debt free, unlike many of our university colleagues. Moving forward in our lives, to be debt free once graduating University is something most dream of and allows us to be ahead and can focus our finances elsewhere.
KR: How important is that school scholarship to players? Does it add incentive for players to choose the WHL over playing elsewhere such as going straight to college/university?
JC: Personally when I chose to play for the Kelowna Rockets, getting a full scholarship after was the most Important factor in the decision process. Today, U Sports and Canada West has seen rise in talent throughout the leagues because players are becoming more aware of how fortunate and important these scholarships are. I believe that is one of the WHL’s best attributes. The WHL is part of the best hockey development leagues in the world and for the fortunate few, is the next step to the NHL. But for the majority, it is an opportunity to play in some amazing cities in front of thousands of fans, all to get free post secondary schooling after. I don’t think there is a better opportunity and scholarship elsewhere.
KR: Would you still have been able to enroll in post-secondary following your WHL career if you weren’t given the scholarship? (As there are many people who are capable but don’t for various reasons)
JC: If I weren’t given a WHL scholarship I would have still been able to enroll. However I know for a fact that I would be taking out student loans to cover the costs. I was raised with the belief that schooling is important so throughout my years of high school I was able to maintain good marks, marks that actually allowed me to get accepted as a normal student at the University of Saskatchewan.
KR: How are you enjoying your time at the U of S?
JC: My time at the University of Saskatchewan has been amazing. I currently play for the Men’s hockey team year and the past three years have been some of the most fun I have ever had. We are currently off to Nationals Monday morning and couldn’t be more excited to get back to that tournament after last season’s opportunity. We have a great team here thanks to an amazing group of guys. This group makes coming to the rink enjoyable daily and couldn’t ask for a better group. We are all in the same boat here, completing a degree with hopes of a professional hockey career once the degree is completed, so we all want to make the most of our time here and enjoy every minute of it.
Cooke and his U of S squad recently played in the 2017 U SPORTS Cavendish University Cup Men’s Hockey Championship. Cooke posted back-to-back shutout wins to advance to the gold medal final, but fell 5-3 to win a silver medal.