Saturday, July 2, 2011

2012 Class Adds Two More

Kenny Brooks doing power forwardly things.

Penn State's 2012 class is now six strong, thanks to the recent additions of Kenny Brooks from the USHL's Tri-City Storm and Jessi Hilton from the AJHL's Sherwood Park Crusaders.

Kenny Brooks

Tri-City Storm (USHL)
6'0", 179 pounds
Las Vegas, NV
DOB 12/11/1991

USHL player page

Season   Team                   Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM

2009-10  Tri-City Storm         USHL   49    7   11   18   59
2010-11  Tri-City Storm         USHL   57    9   17   26   34

Kenny Brooks appears set to re-join the Storm for this season, as he was recently included on the team's 25-man protected list. Of course, if his two seasons of self-described role as "a power forward and good defensively [who needs] to finish hits, but [who] also scores goals and makes plays" weren't enough to keep him around, he did have an ace in the hole: his dad owns the team. So there's that.

Make no mistake though, Brooks probably didn't need an assist from nepotism. Witness his first USHL goal, on a penalty shot. He rented Pavel Datsyuk's hands for the occasion.

No, indeed, we can't handle the truth.

Brooks described that goal as his most memorable in an interview earlier this year, although he shunned the Datsyuk comparison in favor of calling also-filthy Peter Forsberg his hockey idol.

While it might not be obvious from his point total, Brooks scored more points than all but one of his teammates in a Storm uniform last season. It may be worth noting that the Storm had a pair of Ohio State commits this year as well, and they were pretty comparable statistically - Darik Angeli was 11-16-27 between Tri-City and Chicago, while Matt Johnson was 9-14-23 in 56 games. In 2009-2010, Tri-City's roster included Jaden Schwartz and his 83 points, so I'm still trying to figure out how they were only 29-25-6.

Let's pull some quotes from the Kearney Hub article. First Brooks:
“I think it’s a great opportunity to get into the lineup as a freshman playing college hockey. I like how they have started the program and believe that I’ll be a part of something special.”
Now Storm coach/GM Drew Schonek:
“We are really happy for Kenny and know that he’ll do great for this new program. Kenny has worked hard for the Storm over the past two seasons, and we look forward to this year having him once again.”
One of Brooks' five multi-point efforts last season came on March 25th, although his assists on both Storm goals weren't enough to overcome Tommy Olczyk's tally and three others from his Sioux City teammates. Now that the two are unofficially on the same side, it's hard not to imagine them taking the next step as shutdown linemates.

Jessi Hilton

Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)
6'2", 185 pounds
Sherwood Park, AB
DOB 9/17/1991 player page

Season   Team                   Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM

2007-08  Sherwood Park Kings    Mdgt   33   10   18   28   24
2008-09  Calgary Hitmen         WHL     2    0    0    0    2
2008-09  Sherwood Pk Crusaders  AJHL   35    2    6    8   26
2009-10  Calgary Hitmen         WHL    10    0    2    2    9
2009-10  Sherwood Pk Crusaders  AJHL   15    8   10   18    4
2010-11  Sherwood Pk Crusaders  AJHL   60   28   22   50   90

First off, before you ask, no, I don't have the first clue how someone who has played 12 games in the WHL is eligible to play in the NCAA, as that league and the other Canadian major junior leagues are considered "professional." There are narrow exceptions that allow 48-hour tryouts, longer if the player pays his own way, but nothing I've seen allows participation in regular-season games. If you're aware of something, you might want to tell everyone (after you explain it to me), since the one-way street to major junior is a pretty substantial issue for college hockey.

And make no mistake, it's the same guy: here's his page on the WHL site, and here's his 2009-2010 game log. Same birthday, same hometown, same i at the end of his first name.

As tough as it is for me to do though, I'm just going to have to trust that everyone involved knows the secret loopholes better than Al Murdoch and move on with it.

Hilton is somewhat unique in that his press release includes a quote from Guy Gadowsky, who continues to hit central Canada hard on the recruiting trail. So let's get that in.
"We are really happy to add a player of Jessi's calibre to our Penn State program and we look forward to seeing him lead the Sherwood Park Crusaders this upcoming season both on & off the ice."
If you thought that was lacking in color, wait until you read Hilton, the rare junior player who gets to live at home.
"I am very excited for this opportunity at Penn State and looking forward to this upcoming season in Sherwood Park where I can continue to work on my game to help me play at the next level."
Okay, we can work on that. But you're going to have to wait in line behind Brooks for an interview, sorry.

I imagine that Sherwood Park is looking forward to having Hilton back as well, since he led the team in scoring last year - as well as just about every type of goal there is: power play goals, shorthanded goals, game-winning goals, and naturally, overall goals. His 28 snipes were good for 10th in the league, helping the Crusaders to a 28-26-6 record and a playoff berth. That output was highlighted by a four-point game on December 4th against the Drayton Valley Thunder, as well as by a 6-3 win over Reed Linaker's St. Albert Steel two weeks later where the pair of PSU recruits each scored two points and took home player-of-the-game honors for their respective teams.

In 2009-2010, he was better than a point per game in Sherwood Park despite being hampered by a knee injury and taking a turn with the WHL's Hitmen.


  1. I don't know whether I'm remembering correctly, but I think I read somewhere that as long as you didn't play for a WHL team past your expected HS graduation date you would forfeit a year of eligibility, but could still play NCAA hockey. I'll try to find that link again.

  2. Awesome - thanks for the info! Glad *some* people know what they're talking about. Can I still use the "I'm new here" line or is that sounding stupid?

    Just to get back in context, if I counted right on my fingers, Hilton would've graduated in 2010. His last game with the Hitmen was 11/09, and in addition to the rest of 2009-10, he will have all of 2010-11 and 2011-12 between him and the WHL before showing up at PSU.

  3. You don't sound stupid and as far as I know, you can be "the new guy" until another school ices a D-I team. Abuse the privilege ;)

    It definitely sounds like Jessi-with-an-I is good. I can't find the link I was talking about, but this one says pretty much the same thing:

  4. Thanks, that means a lot coming from someone who's actually been around it! I'm not too proud to admit that I'm learning a lot of this as I go. So yeah, I'm going to jump on the new guy thing quite often. :o)

  5. Just a comment about Kenny Brooks...the one and only reason he has been on the Storm is because his dad bought the Storm just in time for him to start his junior hockey career. He has never made any other team he tried out for, with the exception of the Nevada Stars, which also happened to be owned by his dad, and the Las Vegas Outlaws, who played at the rink...owned by his dad. He's nowhere near 6' tall, and believe me, money talks!