Leeds Knights import Zach Brooks confident he has what it takes to succeed in NIHL National

HE may only be two games into his professional career, but forward Zach Brooks believes he is well-prepared for the rigours of playing in NIHL National.
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The 20-year-old winger was announced as Leeds Knights’ first import signing on Friday, his transition from junior hockey in North America only occurring towards the tail-end of last season when he was called-up to play for Trois-Rivières Lions, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens.

But while there were opportunities to try out at summer training camps with a number of ECHL teams, Brooks jumped at the chance to continue his senior career in West Yorkshire.

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He comes in to Elland Road on the back of an impressive season with the Grand Prairie Storm in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), posting 50 points in 60 games, including 22 goals.

Zach Brooks - pictured during his time with Cowichan Valley Capitals during the 2019-20 season. Picture courtesy of Cowichan Valley Capitals/ Mijen MultimediaZach Brooks - pictured during his time with Cowichan Valley Capitals during the 2019-20 season. Picture courtesy of Cowichan Valley Capitals/ Mijen Multimedia
Zach Brooks - pictured during his time with Cowichan Valley Capitals during the 2019-20 season. Picture courtesy of Cowichan Valley Capitals/ Mijen Multimedia

He believes a move to the UK with Leeds will suit his physical style of play, confident it is a closer fit with North American-style hockey than other European nations.

“I’ve been told that the hockey over in England is a lot like over here,” said Brooks. “Obviously the ice size is different in places but in the way that the game is played there, it seems to be a physical league, physical hockey, so that was one reason why I felt it would be a good fit for me and my game.

“I got my first taste of pro hockey at the end of my last junior season last year, I got called there and got my first couple of pro games in and it was a lot of fun.

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“It was a great experience and good to get a feel for what pro hockey is all about. Now I’m really excited to get things going over in Leeds and continue my career there.

Zach Brooks - pictured during his time with Cowichan Valley Capitals. Picture courtesy of Cowichan Valley Capitals/ Mijen MultimediaZach Brooks - pictured during his time with Cowichan Valley Capitals. Picture courtesy of Cowichan Valley Capitals/ Mijen Multimedia
Zach Brooks - pictured during his time with Cowichan Valley Capitals. Picture courtesy of Cowichan Valley Capitals/ Mijen Multimedia

“At my age, there are not a lot of guys who get the chance to do what I did last season and that opened me a lot of doors and I think I’ve found the perfect fit at Leeds next year.”

The Knights now have 15 slots on their roster filled for the 2022-23 campaign, with another signing expected to be announced this Wednesday.

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