Evan Daum, Canada West Communications
- Former Swift Current Bronco & Lethbridge Hurricane Jay Merkley claims the honour, becoming the first University of Lethbridge player to win the award since Dustin Moore (January 2012)
- Merkley is the third recipient of the award this season after Alberta's Jamie Crooks (October) and Calgary's Elgin Pearce (November)
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.
You can watch every Canada West men's hockey game all season long by tuning into CanadaWest.tv. Season passes for the remainder of the 2016-17 campaign are now available for $20 CAD.
For more on the WHL Scholarship Program, click here.
Previous Canada West WHL Graduates of the Month
October: Jamie Crooks, Alberta
November: Elgin Pearce, Calgary
October: Anthony Bardaro, UBC
November: Tyler Fiddler, Mount Royal
January: Kohl Bauml, Saskatchewan
February: Elgin Pearce, Calgary
March: Jordon Cooke, Saskatchewan