Jack Works has already made a good first impression on Denver University’s men’s hockey team. They asked him to commit to the school.
He’s going to get a second chance to make good on that first impression with a full season of college hockey in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
The 20-year-old centre from Yellowknife will enter his second official season with the Pioneers as a freshman. That’s because the NCAA granted athletes an extra year of eligibility because of the pandemic playing havoc with schedules in all sports.
This is the second official week on the ice for Works and the team, but he said there has been action since around mid-August.
“Most of the guys have been here since then but we couldn’t do anything official with the coaches until we got permission from the school,” he said.
That permission came once school started up for the new year. Works joined the Pioneers in December 2020 after playing parts of three seasons with the Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where he put up 125 points in 118 games between 2017 and 2020. He saw action in five games last season with the Pioneers, registering one assist.
As for what he wants to do in his first full freshman season, Works said he simply wants to get as much ice time as he can and do whatever he can to help the team get results.
“We have a real good team this season and I don’t have any real expectations for myself,” he said. “We’ve had team meetings already and we discussed what the goal is for this season and that’s win it all — win our conference and then win the national title. The school has had a lot of success over the years and winning is kind of expected here.”
The Magness Arena, home of the Pioneers, will have fans back in the stands for this season — fully masked, mind you — and Works said he’s looking forward to that.
“The fans do make a difference,” he said. “Playing in an empty rink was so weird and I’ve never done that before. The older players have been telling me that the fans are great here so I can’t wait to experience that for the first time.”
Going back to class in person was a big deal as well, he added.
“It’s definitely cooler to go back and sit in a classroom,” he said. “I’m getting back into a routine but we were all in the same boat last year having to do things online and it was hard to get back into school at first.”
Denver will have just one pre-season game against Lindenwood University from Missouri on Oct. 2 before opening the regular season at home versus Arizona State on Oct. 8.