Glenbrook North winger Owen Just named Illinois prep hockey player of the year
Glenbrook North senior Owen Just on March 15 was awarded the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois' J.J. O'Connor Award as Illinois high school hockey player of the year.
Just, a left wing, scored 43 goals with 81 assists for 124 points this season in 63 games, 2 points shy of Nick Mikhaylov's program-record 126 points in the 2016-17 season.
Loyola Academy's Jack Gustafson won the O'Connor Award in 2022. The award was named for Loyola graduate J.J. O'Connor, who suffered a career-ending injury as a 16-year-old with the Chicago Patriots and went on to serve with USA Hockey, leading its Disabled Section.
"Representing the Glenbrook North hockey family and putting on the sweater is something I'll cherish for the rest of my life," Just said.
"This award is a testament to the Glenbrook North hockey community and all the work that goes into producing such a successful program."
Just's 81 assists are a Spartans record, 15 more than Chris Zhang recorded in the 2014-15 season. Just's 212 points over a three-year varsity career ranks fifth all-time at Glenbrook North.
With his future college or hockey plans undecided, Just's prep career ended March 11 in a 4-3 overtime loss to Glenbrook South in the Scholastic Hockey League semifinals. Two apparent Spartans goals in regulation time were disallowed.
Glenbrook North finished 43-19-0 with 2 overtime losses.
New Trier Green went on to win the SHL Cup 1-0 over Glenbrook South. New Trier beat York 2-0 to win the Red Varsity State Championship March 19 at the United Center. Barrington won the Girls Varsity State Championship 6-0 over Loyola.
A first-team pick in the SHL in 2023 after making the second team as a junior when he led Glenbrook North with 88 points, Just is a two-time selection to the Illinois all-state team. He played Triple-A hockey with the Chicago Mission as a freshman.
He is a two-time selection to Illinois' Showcase Team, and was invited to play this season in the first All-Star Game between the Scholastic Hockey League and the Chicago Catholic Hockey League, Glenbrook North coach Evan Poulakidas said.
"I want to thank my family for their support, my coaches for putting me in position to succeed, and my teammates for their trust and selflessness," Just said.
An Advanced Placement honors student, Just also scored a 34 on his ACT and has a 4.5 grade-point average on Glenbrook North's 4.0 scale, Poulakidas said.
"He's a spectacular human being, a person you want to get to know because I truly believe he's going to do great things. It's really been an honor to coach him these three years," the coach said.