Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Zach Cox, Nipawin Hawks

Two years ago the Nipawin Hawks saw something in then-18-year-old Zach Cox that had them excited for what he could add to an already offensive-gifted squad.

Unfortunately, the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes also felt the same way and after just five games when Cox had registered six points for the Hawks, the Rocky View County, Alta., product made the jump to the Hurricanes.

Cox would match his Nipawin output of two goals and four assists in 58 games with the Hurricanes that year and while last season he improved on those numbers by posting 11 goals and four helpers in 66 contests, he returned to the Hawks this year when he failed to claim one of the three overage spots on the Lethbridge squad.

The 6-foot-four, 199-pound forward once again has the Hawks excited, however, as his 12 goals and nine assists in 28 games this year has been a big boost for an offence that is in the lower third of the 12-team league.

Originally drafted in the eighth round of the 2014 WHL bantam draft by the Regina Pats, Cox got his first taste of Junior “A” hockey when as a 17-year-old he played in 58 games with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Drayton Valley Thunder. Cox had a respectable 25 points that season, but his rights were then shipped to Nipawin in the offseason setting up the spectacular SJHL debut and subsequent departure to the Hurricanes.

While his return to Nipawin wasn’t as explosive as his first time in northeastern Saskatchewan, Cox has been on a roll of late having scored at least once in each of his last five games and his continued production is going to be needed as the Hawks look to make a move up the standings in the second half of the season.

During his time in Lethbridge, Cox appeared in 22 playoff games and that experience is going to be invaluable for the Hawks as they look to make a run at a second league title in the last three years.