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Volume 91, Issue 42

Wednesday, November 12, 1997

Downey fresh


Cook an admirable head chef

©Geoff Robins/Gazette
THIS SWEATER IS A LOT OF HEAVIER WITH THIS BIG "C" ON IT. Mustang defenceman Jim Cook has taken his new role as hockey captain in stride, leading his club both on and off the ice.

By John Giusti

Gazette Staff

The Western Mustang hockey team has many returning veterans this season but the role of captain has been given to just one leader, fourth-year defenceman Joe Cook.

Through six games, Cook has found himself playing on the Mustang's top defensive unit, as well as on penalty killing and the occasional power play, in an attempt to contribute to the team as many ways as he can.

Last season, Cook did not score a goal but collected 17 assists and says he enjoys his role as a stay-at-home defenceman.

"I have great pride in keeping the puck out of the net," Cook said, "I know I'm not the fastest skater, but I try to show leadership on and off the ice."

Cook may not have been the fastest man on the ice last season but he used his abilities to the fullest every time he leapt over the boards – giving a 110 per cent every game, motivating his teammates to do the same, Mustang coach Barry Martinelli said. This intensity prompted the coach to bestow Cook the honour of the "C".

"Joe gets a lot of respect from all the players," Martinelli said. "What he lacks in natural talent, he makes up for in attitude and work ethic."

The position of captain brings with it a certain degree of responsibility and Joe fulfills his duties in attending coaches meetings, organizing team functions and even balancing the team's budget.

Cook was born and raised in nearby Port Stanley, playing his first hockey game at the age of four. Cook played on five different teams as he matured and left home for Tillsonburg to play Junior B. His next big step was the Ontario Hockey League draft where Cook was chosen in the fifth round by the Oshawa Generals. It was there he spent his next two and a half years playing at the most competitive level for his age.

"I went to three different high schools in five years," said Cook. "It was quite a culture shock moving to Oshawa (where the population is over 130,000) from a little town like Port Stanley."

Upon reaching the draft age, Cook dodged in favour of his education and brought his talents to Western.

"I knew some of my former teammates were playing here," Cook said, referring to his decision to join the purple ranks. "I played with Brian Grieve and Craig Donaldson in Oshawa and, of course, I liked Western's program."

Cook is currently in teacher's college after having completed his three-year degree in Sociology. Although he will avidly seek a teaching job in the spring, Cook may not be turning his back on hockey just yet.

"I haven't closed the door," Cook said. "Hopefully I'll get the teaching job, but if I don't, I might possibly play in England next year."

Cook's hopes to play overseas stem from the fact that three former Mustangs are currently on the roster for Basingstoke, playing professionally in the English league.

"Joe will be successful in whatever he does, wherever he goes," Martinelli said. "He leads by example and gets the job done – there's no better role model for our first and second-year players."

After the Mustangs galloped to a 3-0 start, they have fallen on hard times with a three game losing skid. The next game is tonight at Laurier.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997