From a scrappy kid joining the USHL Omaha Lancers out of prep school at the start of the 2001-02 season, to a regular on the blue line for the University of Michigan, Tim Cook has come a long way over the past five years.
There are many things the Ottawa Senators 2003 fifth round draft pick has accomplished along the way, but he’s proud of the hard work he’s put in on the ice and in the classroom for the Wolverines. The 6’4 190-pounder has three points in 33 games this year as a junior.
Hockey’s Future caught up with Cook during an away series where his Wolverines took on the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He talked about his progression as a player, his experience as a Wolverine and his current role with Michigan Hockey.
HF: How important was it for you to have two years of experience before joining Michigan?
TC: It was huge. I was coming out of prep school and I thought I knew everything there was to know about hockey. I was completely wrong. The USHL was a great baptism by fire for me. Without that experience, I wouldn’t have made it to this level of hockey right now.
HF: You played with the Omaha/River City Lancers while you were in the league. Do you still have fans that come and see you when you stop in to play the Mavericks?
TC: The fans here are unbelievable. I still know fans that watch the Lancers and come in to watch me. Actually, I just got some banana nut bread Friday night. The folks here are great, they know me on a personal level and they really care about what you’re doing.
HF: Moving forward, what have the last three seasons been like with the University of Michigan?
TC: It was another case where you think you know everything and then you get up to the next level. It’s been a great place to come and learn how to take it to the next level. The atmosphere has been absolutely unbelievable.
HF: Is there anything in particular that has stood out during your stay?
TC: I would have to say the tradition that follows the CCHA and the University of Michigan in particular. If you look at all the names that have come through program have gone on to become great pro players, it definitely makes you feel honored to be a part of something like this.
HF: Can you talk about your current role with the Wolverines?
TC: I am a stay-at-home defenseman whose primary responsibility is to move the puck up the ice to the forwards, play a consistent physical defensive first game. Of course I need to keep the puck out of our end as much as I can.
HF: Is there anything that has changed in your game or approach over the last three years?
TC: I am constantly working on my consistency. As a freshman and a couple times as a sophomore, I would have a good game and then a bad. I’ve really tried to stay consistent while maintaining a good presence on the ice.
HF: If there is one thing you’ve been consistent about, you’re a career plus player with the Wolverines. Your thoughts on that achievement thus far?
TC: That goes hand-in-hand with keeping the puck out of the net. Obviously I’m not going to be a big scorer but as long as I can stay on the even or plus side then I’m going to be happy.
HF: Is there one aspect about your game that people would not be aware of?
TC: Ah, probably that I can score, it’s just I usually don’t do it. I’ve had about five goals in that last five years (laughing). Maybe I’ll try to work on it.
HF: I heard you’re a part-time prankster in the locker room. Care to articulate on that?
TC: I think I’m going to have to say no comment on that one (laughing). Let’s just keep that in the locker room.
HF: You’re quite the scholar too. How big is it for you to also get a quality education while playing at Michigan?
TC: It’s everything. Realistically, making money for family in the pros is probably a long shot, so it’s important for me to get an education so I can go ahead and support the people that supported me.
HF: Looking at the roster, you’ve got about half of the team as first-year freshmen. Are you in more of a leadership role this year with all the new guys here?
TC: I definitely try to be. I had players like Brandon Rogers and Andy Burns who really took me under their wing and who tried to help me out. If I can do something like for someone else, that’s really great. I would be proud to do that.
HF: In closing, can you describe the honor and tradition at the University of Michigan and what it’s meant to you?
TC: Coming here is a big responsibility and a great honor. You don’t want to be one of those classes who didn’t get it done for Michigan. Right now, we’re trying to get on a stretch run and uphold that tradition that has had for the past 20 something years. It’s an honor for me personally and for the rest of the guys on the team.
Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.