It was not the happily ever after that Adam Brooks was hoping for, but it doesn’t make his story any less a fairy tale.
Sunday night’s loss to Seattle marked the end of his WHL career, and his last game in a Pats jersey, just two wins short of a Memorial Cup berth.
Brooks is a bona fide star now in the city he’s called home for the last five years. His 130-point season fell just one point behind the league leader – teammate Sam Steel – but the much-beloved Pats captain’s star didn’t always shine that bright.
When Brooks first started with the Pats 130-point seasons were a long way away. He had 12 points in 55 games in his rookie year in 2012. His sophomore year was about the same. Then something changed in a big way for Brooks: John Paddock came on as head coach and general manager.
“John (Paddock), Dave (Struch), Brad (Herauf), they turned my hockey career around,” said an emotional Brooks after the game six loss on Sunday night. “It looked like I was going to be playing Junior A and they came in and gave me a chance to shine … I can’t thank them enough.”
In one season under Paddock and assistant coaches Struch and Herauf, Brooks went from earning 11 points in 2013-14 to 62 points in 2014-15. In 2015-16 that total nearly doubled to 120 points: 38 goals and 82 assists.
Then, in his final season he was named captain. An honour, he said, that meant so much to him.
“I think back to when I was 16-years-old and I was fortunate enough to live with the captain Colton Jobke and just to see how he conducted himself,” he said, allowing himself a small trip down memory lane to think of other Pats captains like Dyson Stephenson and Colby Williams.
“Just to be able to follow in their footsteps and be able to wear the C … is unbelievable,” he continued. “This team has so much history and just to be on that wall with that list of captains is unbelievable and something I didn’t take for granted.”
In some ways, it’s hard to describe the impact that Brooks has had on the city and the Pats organization because so much of it came off the ice. The real mark left by Adam Brooks came from the interactions he had in the community and with the fans.
This year he teamed up with Partner Technologies for the “Brooksy Bucks” promotion where money was donated for every goal and assist he notched during his final season. His offensive prowess raised $17,500 for Big Brothers of Regina.
He also delivered pizzas as part of a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, took teddies to sick children in the hospital after the annual teddy bear toss and went into schools to read to kids.
During family skates on Sundays the line to meet Brooks was always the longest because everyone wanted to meet him. He gave each fan, each awestruck child or admiring adult, all of his attention.
During the regular season, a Snapchat showed him bring a child, likely no more than 2-years-old, out on the ice with him so her mom could take a picture of the two of them together.
All of that makes it easy to see why the fans voted him the most popular Pat two years in a row.
“I love this community. The fans have been awesome to me,” Brooks said before he took a deep breath in an effort not to cry. Tears formed in his eyes. “They’ve been awesome.”
“It’s going to be tough leaving this city that’s for sure.”
And for the fans who loved him so dearly, it will be equally tough to see him go.