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By Ben Guska

This year I was awarded the Jake Brock Award a long side with my line mate, Keith Birlson. Here is what my Coach Kameron Dudek had to say:

“The Jake Brock Award is awarded annually to a member of the Mesa State Hockey team who best exemplifies Mesa State Hockey both on and off the ice. Basically, this person has taken on a leadership role both on and off the ice. "A person the team’s success is dependent on.” The Award is a memorial to Jake Brock, who, along with his girlfriend was killed in a drunk driving car wreck in March of 2007. At this time, there is no scholarship attached to this award. Mesa State Hockey hopes that we will be able to attach a scholarship to this award in the future.
The 2008-2009 Jake Brock Award was awarded to Ben Guska and Keith Birlson. This is normally given to one person. However, the award had to be shared as Ben and Keith spearheaded many projects together. By initiating a plan on how to increase team funds, they partnered up with Grand Junction Sentinel and local businesses for individual player sponsorships, benefiting the news paper, local businesses and the Mesa State Hockey Team. They also petitioned the school on the hockey teams’ behalf for increased funds through the Associated Student Government.
Ben, being a little older than most of the other players on the team, mentored many of the freshman players by one, friendship and 2, leading by example. Being the only coach this year, I relied heavily on the older, more experienced players. Ben came forward with many great ideas and solutions to problems. It was really a no brainer when it came to deciding who the front runners were for this award.”

I unfortunately never had the chance to skate with Jake, but can remember being hit by him in High School, and he laid me out! The team has retired his jersey (#10) in his memory. He and his family have offered a lot of inspiration to our team, and he is missed every day.

Mesa State is currently looking for a chance to attach a Scholarship to this award: For any inquiries on it feel free to email me at

I want to thank our Coach and the Brock family for this award, and also Keith as we both worked equally on a lot of different projects, and I’m proud to share it with him.

Next year Keith and I will be spearheading a booster club for our team to provide safe transportation from the campus to the rink, as well as continuing our efforts to raise money for the team. For more information check out

As for kayaking, I will be up in Glenwood Springs Colorado in a few weeks with the rest of the team and a lot of good friends training for U.S. Team Trials.

See you on the river this summer and hopefully at a few hockey games in the winter!

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