The rise of Regina Pats centre Adam Brooks has reached another level.
The 19-year-old was named by head coach John Paddock as the team’s temporary captain with Colby Williams out for at least a month because of surgery.
“Obviously, we’re going to miss Colby. He’s a huge part of our team, the biggest part of our team, probably,” said Brooks.
“I guess John put it in me to take over that leadership role while Colby is out. For me, it’s an honour and a privilege to wear it while he’s out.”
Being named the captain of the team basically completes Brooks’ rise from bubble player a year and a half ago to their most-important player.
At the start of last season, Brooks was coming off a very disappointing 2013-14 season. Brooks played in 60 games but only managed 11 points.
There were serious doubts if he would actually make the team.
That’s when a new ownership group, management team and coaching staff came in and everything changed for Brooks.
“Coming into my 18-year-old year, I didn’t know if I was going to be on this team. Now, to be in the position I am, it’s huge for my confidence. I have no one to thank but these coaches and these owners,” he said.
If not for the change in the organization, Brooks feels he would probably be playing junior A hockey in Manitoba.
Naming Brooks captain at this point of the season goes against Paddock’s usual train of thought when it comes to his team’s leadership core. At the start of the season, Williams was named captain, and the team played without a captain on the ice for the first 16 games of the season as Williams recovered from an off-season injury.
This time around, Paddock felt giving Brooks the “C” temporarily was the right move.
“Even though we got through the early part of the season (without a captain on the ice). This just feels like the right thing,” he said.
“(Brooks) is a dominating player in the league right now. You’re best player doesn’t have to be your captain but when he is, you can speak easier because he’s the best player on the ice.”
Dominating would be a good way to describe Brooks’ play of late.
Since the start of December, no one in the WHL has scored more points than Brooks. During the 13 games the Pats played during December, Brooks recorded 25 points including eight goals.
The torrid month has left Brooks second in the WHL with 60 points in 40 games. He’s currently three points back of Tyson Ballie of the Kelowna Rockets for the league leading in scoring.
“It’s hard not to look but if you get focused on points, I don’t think they’re going to come,” said Brooks.
“I just want to go out every game and every shift and just do the same thing constantly. I think points will come that way.”
The hot streak culminated with Brooks being named the WHL player last week after scoring 10 points in four games.
The Pats leave for Cranbrook on Wednesday evening ahead of a match up with the Kootenay Ice on Friday. After that, they play all five teams in the United States Division before returning home to host the Prince Albert Raiders on Jan 23.