The Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) has seen its share of Yellowknife players go through its ranks in recent years.
Jacob Schofield, Andy Williams and Tye Hand are just a few who have played in the league at some point.
Jack Works will be joining that list and the most impressive part is that he’s doing it at a young age.
The 16-year-old has signed on with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints after impressing the coaching staff at a spring camp this past weekend.
Works said he went in with the expectation of simply seeing how it would go but it all changed once he was informed that he had made an impression.
“I thought I would go and see what it was all about,” he said. “They told me at the end of camp that they wanted me to sign with them and I did.”
Works has been with the Edge School in Calgary for the past two seasons, where he’s played in what’s known as the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s Elite 15 program. He had himself quite the season, putting up impressive numbers. His 63 points in 53 games led the team in scoring and a plus-30 rating (the amount of even-strength and shorthanded goals his team scored while out on the ice against the number of goals allowed) was also tops on his team.
What’s even more impressive is that he managed to lead the team in scoring while playing 10 games on a call-up basis with the Edge major midget AAA squad during the season.
Works said the Saints were impressed by his tenacity.
“I got told how I handled the puck well and was relentless, never gave up on a play,” he said.
Dan Schofield is someone who knows Works well, having coached Works during his time with the Wolfpack peewee development program.
Schofield said he’s surprised and not surprised at the same time.
“I’m not surprised because he has the level of talent already but I am surprised because it’s happened at such a young age,” he said. “Very few teams at that level sign a 16-year-old so he obviously caught the eye of someone who was confident in Jack’s abilities to make a long-term commitment.”
Schofield also said Works is a tremendously smart hockey player and has blossomed into a solid player over the past two years.
“He’s as smart as any kid I’ve coached,” he said. “He has a great skill set, he sees the ice really well and hes very coachable, a tremendous attitude. He’s committed to this and he really wants it. If it didn’t happen this year, it would have happened next year.”
Playing junior A wasn’t even the goal for Works this season as he was planning on playing with the major midget team full-time but that could still happen as his agreement with the team includes a provision where Works could be sent to major midget if the team feels he needs some extra time developing his skills.
In the meantime, Works said he’s planning on starting the season in Spruce Grove and he’s hoping it springboards him into collegiate hockey.
“I’m pursuing college hockey, hopefully in the U.S.,” he said. “It’s all about staying in shape this summer and getting ready for next season.”