Skip to content

Manson’s Rookes a constant for Oil Caps

Since becoming a Virden Oil Capital in 2019, Manson’s Bray Rookes has been a constant presence – and a physical one – for the team.
Bray Rookes
Bray Rookes

The son of Michael and Leanne Rookes has played in all but two of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League team’s games since joining. No matter how many times he has done it before, competing at the Tundra Oil & Gas Place does not get old for Rookes.

“My favourite thing about playing for the Oil Caps is playing home games because the atmosphere at the rink of an Oil Caps game is one of the most uplifting and positive feelings,” he said.

Rookes has chipped in with two assists this season. However, the 19-year-old defenceman has made himself a regular in the lineup with his play at the other end of the ice.

“Bray is a defender and plays his best when he plays a simple game,” Virden head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “When he gets back to pucks quickly and looks to move the puck up ice by making a good first pass, he is very effective.”

The 6-foot, 205-pound Rookes can also impact the game with his physical play. As of Monday, he led the Oil Caps and was third in the MJHL with 58 penalty minutes.

“Bray is one of the guys on our team that can play a heavy game,” Ramsey said. “He is a big body that can finish checks hard and make it difficult for the other team in our end of the rink. When he plays with a bit of an edge, he can be frustrating for the opposition and we are happy he plays for us.”

Rookes is pleased to be part of the latest edition of the Virden team.

“I like this year’s Oil Caps team because we are a very close group of guys,” he said. “(There’s) lots of veteran guys that accept the new guys very well.”

The blue liner hails from a hockey family. For example, his uncle Chad Leslie was named the interim general manager of the Swift Current Broncos earlier this season. Leslie’s brother Troy, the Oil Caps’ first head coach, guides the U18 AAA Southwest Cougars.

“I regularly go to them for advice and knowledge when it comes to hockey,” he said.

Rookes praised his parents for being very supportive. He said they are “big hockey fans that make it to every home game.”

The Manson rink was where Rookes first started skating. He spent many hours on that surface and has good memories of it.

“I remember skating on the ice right after the Manson curling bonspiel was done thinking this was the smoothest ice there ever was,” Rookes said.