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‘I’ve got to be a dominant player in the league’ - Josh Brook has high expectations

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The WHL defenceman has big goals for his final season in junior

Shanna Martin

Much of the talk around the Montreal Canadiens’ 2017 draft is about first-round pick Ryan Poehling, or second-round pick Joni Ikonen, or even third-round pick Cale Fleury.

But the second player the Habs took in the draft, two spots ahead of Ikonen, was defenceman Josh Brook.

Brook is somewhat the forgotten man in the Canadiens’ draft class of that year, but he shouldn’t be. In fact, Brook was named to Team Canada’s World Junior Summer camp on Wednesday.

One of the reasons that Brook has been forgotten has been his health. He got injured during rookie camp last year, keeping him out until late November. This year, at development camp, he sat out with a wrist injury as well.

“It’s very frustrating,” Brook said about sitting out of on-ice activities at the team’s development camp last weekend. “It’s summer, but you always want to be on the ice. Whenever you see someone competing, you want to be competing against them and it’s tough but you have to control your body and make sure everything’s right. The season doesn’t start in late June.”

“In the summer you have to make sure you get everything healed up so you don’t have any problems with them later.”

Brook played in 45 games last year scoring three goals and adding 29 assists. He added a goal and five assists in 14 playoff games for the Moose Jaw Warriors.

With the Team Canada’s summer camp coming up in late July, and this being his last chance to secure a spot on the World Junior team, Brook knows he needs to have a strong start to the season.

Something that may help him is that Canada’s head coach is Tim Hunter, who is also his coach with Moose Jaw.

“I’ve got to be a dominant player in the league,” he said. “And I’ve got to be a great leader on my team... help the young guys develop. I need to focus on my game and be a dominant player at both ends of the ice and one of the best players in the league.”

“I definitely want to make that team,” he said. “But it’s something I need to work for.”

Brook is one of the four WHL defencemen the team chose in the 2017 Draft joining Fleury, Scott Walford and Jarret Tyszka. When they get together at Canadiens events, they go from rivals to teammates.

“We’ve actually played against each other a lot, even growing up” Brook said. “I went to school with Cale at Notre Dame so we knew each other but Scott and Tyszka, we played a lot of summer hockey against each other. Our teams actually had quite the rivalry,” he said.

“It’s good to meet the guys you’re playing against and they’re all awesome guys.”