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WHL  

Rockets bid for 2020 Cup

UPDATE 1 p.m.

Kelowna Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton believes the club has everything it needs to host a successful Mastercard Memorial Cup.

Hamilton made the pronouncement Thursday morning when he announced the club will put in a bid for the 2020 event.

Former Chamber of Commerce president Tom Dyas will head the bid committee with help from Paul Mitchell and Bill Winter, who both headed up the successful 2004 bid and an unsuccessful bid to host the Memorial Cup in 2013.

Dyas and his team will spend the next few months putting the bid together before submitting it to the league. Bids will be reviewed by two committee, one that looks at its viability and another will look at the competitiveness of the team.

All bids will then be presented at a board of governor's meeting scheduled for Oct. 2 and 3. A decision will be made then.

Hamilton says he's confident a Kelowna bid can be successful.

He says the building needs some work, but indicates that should be achievable.

"The dressing rooms would be the biggest concern, and we've already got design done like the last time we hosted this, " said Hamilton.

"I'm sure there will be upgrades we'll look at for the building, but that's something us and the building will meet on. With the decision coming in October, there would be time to get done what needs to be done."

He expects the dressing room cost to be about $100,000.

The cost will be covered by the Rockets.

In fact, Hamilton says the club will underwrite the entire event.

Money guaranteed to the CHL, somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1.5 million, will be totally backed by the Rockets.

"This is the Kelowna Rockets putting this on. We'll get some support I'm sure from other areas, but the city is taking no risk at all except they'll be very involved in helping to prepare the bid.

"The events that go on around the Memorial Cup, I'm sure we'll be leaning on them in some ways co-ordinating that."

As for the on-ice product, Hamilton says he';s not concerned, despite the fact the team appears to be heading into a rebuilding phase after losing it's top three forwards and three of its top defencemen.

"I'm not worried at all. The depth of our team would be our overage players and the 1999 group is (Kyle) Topping, (Connor) Bruggen-Cate, (Leif) Mattson, (Jack) Cowell," said Hamilton.

"We'll have five or six guys there. I'm not worried about the hockey side, we'll be fine. We've been competitive every year we've been in business."


ORIGINAL 11:55 a.m.

The Kelowna Rockets have announced their intention to bid for hosting rights to the 2020 Memorial Cup.

The joint bid will be made by the WHL team, City of Kelowna, Tourism Kelowna and Prospera Place arena.

"We feel that is has been a long time (16 years) since we have had the privilege to host the Memorial Cup," Rockets president Bruce Hamilton said at a press conference Thursday morning.

"From our perspective, it's a great opportunity for our organization and for our city."

"From a hockey standpoint, we feel very confident that we will have an extremely competitive team, and we will be in it to win the tournament."

Hamilton said he feels the team's fans deserve it.

"The last time we hosted, we changed the course of the Memorial Cup and turned it into a festival," he added, promising bigger and better if Kelowna is successful in its bid.

Former Kelowna Chamber of Commerce president Tom Dyas will lead the bid committee, backed up by former co-chairs Bill Winters and Paul Mitchell.

The Rockets previously hosted the cup in 2004, winning the tournament on home ice.

The bid committee will now spend the next five months preparing its bid, to be presented on Oct. 3 in Calgary, when the winning team will be announced.

"We are positive the community will rally around this event and make it an even bigger and better celebration for the Western Hockey League and Canadian Hockey league for years to come," said Hamilton.



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Big news from Rockets

The Kelowna Rockets have some big news.

The WHL team has scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning at Manhattan Point Restaurant.

In a brief news release sent Wednesday, the team did not reveal the nature of the announcement.

Management would only say it involves a "major announcement."

Castanet and Okanagan Oldies 103.9 will staff the news conference.



Rocket trio on NHL radar

Three members of this year's Kelowna Rockets could hear their names called when the NHL holds its annual entry draft June 22 and 23 in Dallas.

Forwards Kyle Topping and Leif Mattson and defenceman Libor Zabransky are all included on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters.

But, unlike the last three years, when the Rockets had five players selected in the first two rounds, this year's trio is not expected to go that high.

Topping is the highest ranked of the three, at 59. Zabransky is 115th, while Mattson slots in at 157.

The list does not include European skaters or goaltenders from North America or Europe, meaning Topping is projected to be a third-round choice, with Zabransky and Mattson further down in the draft.

Centre Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts is the top ranked North American skater on the Central Scouting list, while defenceman Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs is the top-rated WHL player, coming in at number 12 overall.

The consensus number one overall selection continues to be Swedish defenceman Rasmus Dahlin.



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5 Rockets hit the pros

The hockey season is far from over for several members of the Kelowna Rockets.

While the Rockets season came to an end a week ago, five members of the team are already embarking on their professional career.

Drafted players Kole Lind (Vancouver), Dillon Dube (Calgary), Cal Foote (Tampa Bay) and Carsen Twarynski (Philadelphia), have all been assigned to to their respective American Hockey League affiliates.

Overage defenceman Gordie Ballhorn signed this week with the East Coast Hockey League's Allen Americans, an affiliate of the San Jose Sharks.

Ballhorn joined the team Tuesday. The Americans have two games left in their regular season before playoffs begin.

Dube made his debut Wednesday night with the Stockton Heat, a team coached by former Rocket head coach Ryan Huska. He had two shots on goal in a 4-3 overtime win over Texas.

Lind made his professional debut with the Utica Comets during an afternoon game Thursday. He had one shot on goal in a 3-2 overtime loss in Toronto.

Foote and Twarynski have yet to hit the ice for their respective teams.

Lind and Foote could find themselves on opposite sides of the ice when their respective clubs meet twice over the next 10 days.



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