The United States Hockey League announced on Tuesday afternoon that Fargo Force’s Brian Cooper was named the recipient of the 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 is the first Fargo Force player to be honored with this award.
Cooper maintained a 3.9 GPA throughout his three years at Fargo South High School in Fargo, ND. He was a member of the National Honor Society and was also named Student of the Month during his Junior Year. Cooper graduated on Sunday with highest honors from South.
From the USHL release: “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.”
The defenseman most recently was named to the ALL-USHL Second Team last week after recording 24 points (6g, 18a) in 55 regular season games this season. He was second on the team with a plus-16 rating which also ranked tied for 12th among USHL defensemen. Cooper was named the team Captain for the 2011-12 season after serving a year as an Assistant Captain the year prior. He was also awarded the John Noah Outstanding Defenseman Award at the end of the season banquet by the coaching staff.
Cooper, a top prospect for the upcoming 2012 NHL Draft, just participated in the NHL Combine from May 29-June 2 where he placed in the top 10 in 4 different fitness tests: VO2 Max Aerobic Fitness, Vertek Vertical Jump Pause, Push Strength (total pounds) and Push Strength (total pounds per body weight). He was ranked 68th overall in the NHL final rankings back in April. Cooper will begin his college career in the fall of 2012 at the University of Nebraska-Omaha under former head coach Dean Blais.
The Fargo Force had seven players named to the honor roll during the 2011-12 season, proving that the athletes place just as much importance on their schooling as their performance on the ice.
By, Whitney Baumgartner