Every time Jordan Knox stepped on the ice this year he thought of Drew Power and Kameron Cooke.
They were on his mind Wednesday night as he accepted the Dr. Randy Gregg award. It goes to a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) men’s hockey player who exemplifies outstanding achievement on the ice, in the classroom and the community.
Power, a former UPEI hockey Panther, and Cooke, a six-year-old from Knox’s hometown of Skinners Pond, both died this year. Outside the Panthers dressing room is a plaque with Power’s uniform while Knox has Cooke’s initials on his hockey stick.
Knox was also one of the people instrumental in fundraising efforts for both families in the wake of the tragedies.
“Those are some of the main reasons, I believe, that I may have won the award,” Knox said. “What we have been able to accomplish here at UPEI, not only myself, but as a team and as a family here at the school, among the whole recreation department, what we’ve done to help the families that have been hit by tragedy here.”
Power, 31, died in a house fire in December while Cooke had a malformation of blood vessels in the brain, a complication similar to a brain aneurysm, and died in January. It was something he was born with but it went undetected.
“Being from a small community you realize how much those things affect people,” Knox said of the sudden death. “You just want to help as much as you can.”
He also helps out with hockey camps and other initiatives.
Knox started skating before he was five, spent countless hours on the backyard rink and in arenas throughout western P.E.I. He played there until midget, when he suited up for the Cornwall Thunder, before going back to Prince County to play junior A for the Summerside Western Capitals.
He has three brothers and they all played hockey.
“Mom and dad never would miss a game,” Knox said of Francine and James. “The support I got from them, I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
He took courses at UPEI while playing junior and decided to continue with his business degree as a Panther. He graduated with a major in accounting last year and came back this year to work on his honours paper in sports marketing in his fourth year of eligibility.
This summer, he’ll decided whether to come back to university for his final year of hockey, turn pro or start his career.
“Obviously, I’d like to stay in the game as long as possible, whether it be trying to play pro for a while or get into the coaching side of it or even the numbers side of it and become a manager,” Knox said. “It’s what I have done my whole life and I just don’t see myself getting away from it anytime soon.”
He was like many kids growing up in Canada, dreaming of playing under the big lights of the NHL. But he was also realistic and knew education would be important.
“There is a point in life when hockey is going to end and you have to have something to fall back on, so the education part is really important.”
Knox is grateful for the award, but said he was just one of a number of people who helped in a time of need.
“It almost shouldn’t be an individual award,” Knox said. “There’s no way you could win this award on your own.”
Who – A fourth-year UPEI hockey player.
Hometown – Skinners Pond.
Age – 25.
2012-13 statistics -
GP G A Pts
28 9 16 25
The News – Won the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) men’s hockey student-athlete community service award Wednesday night.
Quote – “Winning that award is an honour, but it doesn’t happen without having good people around you. Being here at UPEI, you’re surrounded by a great booster club, the community is involved, so it’s easy to get back involved in the community and give back.”
Community Involvement -
– In his second year at UPEI Knox contributed significantly to a fundraising event that raised close to $7,000 for a member of the UPEI alumni that had one of his children involved in a life-altering accident.
– This year, another UPEI alumni tragically passed away and Knox played a key role in organizing an event that contributed close to $5,000 towards helping the family.
– When tragedy claimed a young member of Knox’s community, six-year-old Kameron Cooke, Knox stepped up to serve on a committee that will have fundraising activities set up to benefit a memorial in Kameron’s name.
– Each year UPEI men’s hockey has a Santa Clause Run to raise money for gifts for those who are less fortunate in the community. It was initiated during Knox’s time at UPEI, and he has played a significant contributing role.
– Knox also participates in the Movember fundraising event and this past season volunteered on a weekly basis at the East Wiltshire Hockey Academy, a school program designed to introduce kids to the game of hockey.