Regina Pats forward Adam Brooks is going somewhere he’s never been before – in more ways than one.
Brooks will leave the Pats this week after being invited to New York Rangers rookie camp.
“I’ve definitely never been out there. You hear a lot of things about New York. You see it in tones of movies and such. So, I’m excited to take a look,” said Brooks.
That experience will surely be an eye-opener for the Winnipeg native who has spent most of his life in Western Canada playing hockey.
The camp will also be Brooks’ first taste of professional hockey.
“I’m definitely very excited. It’s nice to get recognized for a good season last year,” he said.
It’s the last year that’s made a huge difference in Brooks’ hockey career.
Heading into the 2014-15 season, there were no expectations on Brooks. There were perhaps even some questions surrounding his future with the team.
Those questions were quickly put to bed when Brooks became one of the best players on the team after being put in a position to succeed by new head coach John Paddock.
“To be where I am now and feel like I’m a leader and a guy that can be looked to. It’s definitely nice. I’m definitely proud of myself,” he said.
Brooks smashed his career highs with 30 goals and 62 points in 64 games last season.
That breakout season is why Brooks now has a chance to not only try and impress the Rangers but also perhaps catch the eye of other teams.
“Almost every team is represented there with some form of scout. A lot of people are going to be attendance. I can just do what I can do and hopefully catch someone’s eye,” said Brooks.
The experience will not only be good for Brooks but it could also be good for the Pats as well.
Barring something unforeseen, Brooks will rejoin his WHL team at some point before the start of the regular season. When he does, he could return a better player than he already is.
“It should be a boost. It should be a boost of confidence and boost of excitement,” said Paddock.
“He’s looked really good in the practices. He should be our best player and he’ll probably be our best player.”
Brooks might also get a chance to take a shot against one of the best goalies in the world in Henrik Lundqvist.
So, does Brooks have a game plan on how to try and score?
“No … not easy,” said Brooks with a big laugh.
The Pats will practice this week at the Cooperators Centre. They continue their pre-season Friday night in Brandon before hosting the Wheat Kings on Saturday night.