Evan Daum, Canada West Communications
- University of Saskatchewan goaltender Jordon Cooke has been named to Hockey Canada's roster for the upcoming Spengler Cup tournament in Davos, Switzerland
- The annual tournament is the oldest invitational hockey tournament in the world, dating back to 1923
- Team Canada has competed in the event since 1984 and has won the event a total of 13 times, including last season
EDMONTON – Jordon Cooke won't be home for the holidays, but that's alright with the third-year University of Saskatchewan goalie.
Cooke was named Tuesday to Hockey Canada's roster for the upcoming Spengler Cup tournament, becoming the first current Canada West player in more than 30 years to join Team Canada for the event, which opens Boxing Day.
A veteran of 149 regular season games in the Western Hockey League with the Kelowna Rockets, Cooke will represent Canada at the annual tourney, which features some of Europe's top club teams, along with a team made up of Canadian players competing primarily on European clubs.
Cooke, along with former Huskies bench boss and Spengler Cup assistant Dave King, will be looking to help Canada defends its 2015 title and repeat as champions for the first time since 2003.
As one could imagine, Cooke was caught off guard when he first learned of the roster spot earlier this month from Hockey Canada's VP of hockey operations Scott Salmond, who broke the news to Cooke in Montreal.
"Scott Salmond of Hockey Canada pulled me aside. I knew (Scott) previously, as his son's a goalie in Kelowna and I was there when his son was drafted, so I had shown him the ropes around Kelowna at one of our goalie camps," explained Cooke, who was returning home after competing with the U Sports all-stars against Canada's world junior hopefuls.
"I really just thought he was pulling me aside to see how my season was going and generally have a conversation. Then out of the blue he kind of started leading into the Spengler Cup, how there was an open spot and how he wanted me."
"As soon as he said that my eyes lit up and I kind of shot my head back a bit. I was definitely surprised."
Cooke will become the first active Canada West student-athlete in over three decades to don the maple leaf in one of hockey's most storied tournaments, joining Kent Simpson, who played at the 1999 Spengler Cup following his career at the University of Alberta, as the latest Canada West connection to the event.
Last season, Cooke was stellar for Saskatchewan, posting a Huskies program record 19 regular season wins to go along with a sparkling .921 save percentage, as Saskatchewan skated to the Canada West conference title.
A Business student, Cooke became the first Canada West goalie since Lethbridge's Trevor Kruger in 1993-94 to win the conference's outstanding player award in 2015-16, while also earning the CIS top goaltender award.
The Leduc, Alta. native has picked up where he left off this season, as he leads Canada West in wins with 10, sporting a 1.98 GAA and .928 SV% at the midway point of the season for the first-place Huskies.
"Whether I play or not, it's an honour to represent your country, no matter what tournament it's in," said Cooke, who will be joined Daniel Vukovic (Genève-Servette HC, NLA) and Zach Fucale (Brampton, ECHL) in goal for Canada.
"I'm really just excited to be given the opportunity to be on the roster. Whether I play or not, I'll deal with the moment when that comes, but right now I'm just ecstatic for the opportunity to go over there."
NOTE: In 1984-85 Clare Drake coached Team Canada in its first ever appearance at the Spengler Cup and led the team to the tournament title. On the roster were four members of the 1984-85 Golden Bears. The four were: goaltender Ken Hodge, defencemen Tim Krug and Parie Proft and forward Dennis Cranston. Also on the 1984 Canadian Spengler Cup roster was Bill Holloway from the UBC Thunderbirds.