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Rockets move Franko, add size up front

The Kelowna Rockets added size and skill up front in two separate deals announced Wednesday.

The Rockets acquired 20-year-old Slovakian forward, Marek Tvrdon from the Vancouver Giants for a second round Bantam Draft pick this year.

To make room for Tvrdon, the Rockets sent overage forward Zach Franko to the Kootenay Ice for a pair of Bantam picks, (6th round in 2014 and third round in 2016).

Tvrdon has played this season with the Toledo Walleye in the East Coast Hockey League.

In 22 games with the Walleye, Tvrdon, a fourth round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2011, has nine goals and four assists.

During three seasons with the Giants Tvrdon amassed 45 goals, 62 assists and 92 penalty minutes in 90 games. He had another three goals and three assists in six playoff games.

"We are getting a player that is bigger and will add some size and skill," says Rockets president/GM Bruce Hamilton of Tvrdon.

Franko played 252 games in a Rockets uniform over four seasons.

He had 72 goals and 199 points over that time. This season Franko had 12 goals and 23 assists in 39 games.

"Zach has been here for four years and it was very difficult but we felt we needed to add some size," says Hamilton.

"We'd like to thank Zach for his four years of service with our team and wish him the best in the future."

The Western Hockey League trade deadline is Friday.

Tvrdon is expected to join the Rockets on their four game Alberta road trip which begins tonight (Wednesday) in Edmonton.

The trip continues with stops in Lethbridge Friday, Medicine Hat Saturday and Calgary Sunday.

Meantime, the Rockets remain the number one ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League.

The latest rankings released Wednesday have the Rockets number one for a second week in a row followed by the Erie Otters and Guelph Storm, both from the Ontario Hockey League.

Two other WHL teams, Calgary (6th) and Portland (7th) are ranked in the top 10.

For the second straight week Victoria is an honourable mention.

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