Okabe CJHL Top Rookie Finalist
The Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League are proud to announce Zachary Okabe has been selected by the CJHL as a finalist for the Top Rookie award. This season was one to remember for the 16-year-old rookie who tallied an impressive (22goals, 35 assists) for 57 points in 58 regular season games. Okabe received the Viterra AJHL Star of the Game Award five times this season with the Storm. Zachary committed to the University of Vermont during the exhibition season back in September and joins a great group of AJHL alumni as the AJHL Rookie of the Year, an award previously won by NHLers such as Stu Barnes, Mike Comrie and Dany Heatley. This year’s other CJHL nominees for the Top Rookie award include Alex Newhook of the Victoria Grizzlies, Jack Quinn of the Kanata Lasers, Keighan Gerrie of the Thunder Bay North Stars, and Jacob Wasserman of the Humboldt Broncos.
Keillor says he’s not surprised to see Okabe named a finalist. “he’s a special breed, every scout, coach and GM are looking for the same thing. That mix of speed, compete, high hockey IQ and good character. No doubt he’s got those characteristics in spades but sometimes there’s just that intuition, that comfortability factor right away when you know there’s something bigger at play. Zach has a genuine love for the game that you can see in his body language when he’s at the rink and other guys that share that will gravitate to each other. There was a group of 5 guys that Okabe was part of that never missed a skill session, goalie session, free ice or optional skate. There’s also no coincidence those guys had the seasons they had. The future is bright for this young man and I can’t wait to see what other accomplishments are in store”
The Storm organization would like to congratulate Zach for been recognized by the CJHL as a finalist for the Top Rookie award and look forward to seeing his progression as a player and a person.