Escott among scoring leaders with P.E.I. Rocket this season
CHARLOTTETOWN - A former Amherst Rambler made a big gamble by signing with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's P.E.I. Rocket midway through last season and, so far, it is paying off.
Eighteen-year-old Jordan Escott, who had planned to play collegiate hockey for Cornell University on a hockey scholarship, joined the Rocket midway through the 2008-09 season; voiding his college eligibility.
Escott sits third in Rocket team scoring with 22 points in 25 games. He has nine goals and 13 assists to go along with 10 penalty minutes, and is second on the team in plus-minus with a plus-5 rating.
The six-foot-one, 172-pound centre is holding his own in the faceoff circle, winning 49.5 per cent of his draws.
Escott attributes his recent success to a summer full of hard work and dedication resulting in him gaining 20 pounds.
This turn of events in Escott's career path has worked out well for the Rocket, who were able to select him in the sixth round of the 2008 QMJHL bantam draft.
Escott, a St. John's N.L., native, was projected to go in the first round, but the risk of losing him to Cornell made many teams opt to pass on the smooth-handed forward.
Some have questioned Escott's decision to not play for Cornell saying that the chance to partake in an Ivy League education should not be taken lightly.
While the Rocket are required to pay for high school and university expenses during a players stay with the club, once that player plays professional hockey, at any level, the league is off the hook.
If the player does not continue on to play pro, however, the league will provide up to $4,000 per year for four years.
Escott is confident he made the right choice, however, and knows that the QMJHL is a better developmental league..
"It was a family decision," said Escott.
"It's definitely the fastest route to professional hockey."
Escott started off last season playing for the Amherst Ramblers in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League, notching 24 points in 19 games.
That success earned him a spot on Team Canada East at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Camrose, Alta., last November. The team brought home a bronze medal.
He finished the season with just 12 points in 41 games playing for the P.E.I. Rocket.
This year marks Escott's first year of NHL draft eligibility and while he would be more than happy to be picked by any NHL team, he admits he is a "huge Leafs fan," a passion that was more than likely influenced by his relationship with former Maple Leafs defenceman Nathan Dempsey when Dempsey played for the St. John's Maple Leafs in the AHL.
• David Archibald is a journalism student at Holland College in Charlottetown.