Fargo Force defenseman excelled on the ice and in the classroom
Chicago, IL - The United States Hockey League announced that Fargo Force defenseman Brian Cooper has been named the recipient of the 2011-12 USHL Scholar-Athlete Award.
Established in 2007, the USHL Scholar-Athlete Award recognizes players for both their success in the classroom and on the ice. Candidates are nominated by their coaches, teachers, and academic counselors based on their grade-point-average, coursework, and overall school participation.
Cooper, who served as team captain for the Fargo Force, completed the USHL regular season putting up 24 points (6g, 18a) in 55 games and was second on the team with a plus-16 rating, a mark that ranked 12th among USHL defensemen. He was also second among all League defensemen with 149 shots on goal. Cooper helped Fargo earn a 31-23-6 record (68 points), a fourth-place finish in the Western Conference, and a berth in the 2012 USHL Clark Cup Playoffs. The defenseman earned a spot on the 2011-12 All-USHL Second Team for the second consecutive season.
The native of Anchorage, Alaska maintained a 3.9 grade-point-average at Fargo South High School this season while balancing the demands of being a USHL hockey player. His coursework included classes in pre-calculus, psychology, advanced math, physics, English, government, and forensics. Cooper was on the Honor Roll each quarter and was inducted into the school's National Honor Society. Earlier in the season, he earned recognition as one of six "students of the month" at Fargo South High School which was selected from a group of more than 1,000 students.
Cooper has played three seasons in the USHL, first coming to the League as a 15-year-old during the 2009-10 season. Over 161 career regular season games, he has recorded 70 points (20g, 50a), 293 penalty minutes, and a plus-38 rating. He has also helped the Force qualify for the playoffs in all three seasons and has collected nine points (3g, 6a) and a plus-nine rating in 24 career postseason games in the USHL.
During his time in the USHL, the defenseman earned a scholarship to play college hockey at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and will attend the school beginning this fall. He is also preparing for the upcoming 2012 NHL Draft as he is one of the top prospects from the USHL. NHL Central Scouting ranked him #68 on their final rankings of North American skaters and he recently attended the NHL Scouting Combine to participate in physical testing and interviews with NHL clubs.
"In his three years in the USHL, Brian has matured from a 15-year-old rookie to one of the League's most solid players, and a true leader for the Fargo Force," said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince. "His role as team captain are a testimony to teammates' trust and respect, and with a possible NHL career on the horizon, he has still excelled in the classroom as well as on the ice. Brian defines the term 'scholar-athlete,' and we've been privileged to have him part of the League. Congratulations to him, and the Fargo Force organization."
Other nominations for the USHL Scholar-Athlete Award included Team USA defenseman Connor Carrick (committed to the University of Michigan) who carried a weighted 3.83 GPA over the last two years in the USHL with a course load that included Advanced Placement classes in addition to mentoring an autistic student at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Waterloo Black Hawks goaltender Eamon McAdam (committed to Penn State University) who earned a 3.86 GPA at Waterloo West High School while completing Honors and Advanced Placement classes; Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman Matt Caito (committed to Miami University) who held a 3.75 GPA while attending Dubuque Senior High School; and Des Moines Buccaneers defensemanDuggie Lagrone (committed to Colorado College) who excelled in the classroom at Valley High School in West Des Moines while appearing in 53 USHL games this season.
Cooper is the first player from the Fargo Force to earn the USHL Scholar-Athlete Award. Previous recipients of the USHL Scholar-Athlete Award include Muskegon Lumberjacks defensemanJaycob Megna (2010-11), Youngstown Phantoms defensemanKevin Liss (2010-11), Omaha Lancers forward Anthony Hamburg (2009-10), Youngstown Phantoms goaltender Matthew Mahalak (2009-10), Omaha Lancers goaltender Jeff Teglia(2008-09), and Sioux Falls Stampede forward Matt Farris (2007-08).
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 10th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2011-12. With 28 picks during the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, 13 NHL draftees on its rosters this season, and over 250 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools this season, the USHL is emerging as the world's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League's multiple social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action online all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).
It's not just hockey. It's the USHL.