Warriors excited about Brook's potential

Matthew Gourlie
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A lot of great defencemen have patrolled the blue lines in Duncan McNeil Arena in Wilcox.

Josh Brook

It was only fitting that Josh Brook was on the ice at Notre Dame when he found out he had been drafted fourth overall by the Moose Jaw Warriors in Thursday's Western Hockey League draft.

"I was pretty surprised," said Brook. "I still can't believe it."

Brook was the first of three Notre Dame defencemen to be taken in the top-34 picks of the draft. Swift Current nabbed his teammates Dominic Schmiemann 12th overall and Jake Kustra 34th.

"We were all kind of excited to see who would go first," said Brook. "I was hoping to go to the Warriors. They're a great organization."

During the webcast on the WHL website, Warriors head scout and assistant GM Rob Maclachlan compared Brook to a former Hounds defencemen: former Warriors standout Morgan Rielly.

"He skates like Morgan Rielly," said Maclachlan. Considering that Rielly was arguably the best skater in the WHL before he cracked the Toronto Maple Leafs roster at 19, that's high praise indeed.

Brook said he was flattered by the comparison to Rielly and hopes he can come close to living up to it.

"I will keep working and try to get as close as I can," said Brook who feels that his skating is the strength of his game.

"I definitely have to work on getting stronger and faster. I want to quicker feet and put on some weight."

Brook is 5-foot-10 and 155-pound defenceman who hails from Roblin, Man. He's a right-handed shot who scored six goals and had 26 points in 32 games last season. He also picked up 50 penalty minutes with the Bantam AAA Hounds while playing in the South Sask. Midget AA Hockey League.

He was the second defenceman taken in the draft after Kamloops took Nolan Kneen from Vancouver's North Shore Winter Club with the third pick.

"We project Josh Brook to be the best defenceman in the draft," said Maclachlan. "Right now (Kneen) is a little more polished, but we think Josh is going to be a 6-3 or 6-4 guy. His dad played in the league. He's going to go back to Notre Dame next year and those guys at Notre Dame really, really develop."

The only defenceman that the Warriors have ever drafted higher than Brook was Rielly.

"It's hard to compare anybody to Morgan Rielly, but that's the kind of player that he is," said Maclachlan. "He's a dynamic skater. He can carry the puck out of his own end. He sees the ice very well."

Against players his own age he had a very strong outing at the prestigious John Reid Memorial Tournament in St. Albert that features international competition. Brook had three goals and seven points in five games and was named to the tournament all-star team.

Brook also played four games as an affiliate with the midget AAA Hounds.

"He's a very committed kid," said Maclachlan. "He was the defenceman from the bantams that they called up to play midget. There's high praise coming out of Notre Dame for this kid too."

Brook's father Dwayne Brook played parts of three seasons in the WHL with Medicine Hat, Saskatoon and Prince Albert between 1987-90. The elder Brook was a six-foot-three forward who was on the Tigers' roster when they won the 1988 WHL title.

Organizations: Prince Albert

Geographic location: Roblin, Notre Dame, South Sask. Medicine Hat Saskatoon

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