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Rockets rookie camp underway

Nearly 100 prospects hit the ice at Prospera Place this morning (Thursday) as the Kelowna Rockets open their 20th rookie camp in Kelowna.

Camp wraps up Sunday.

Among the prospects at camp are those players selected in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, including first round selection Jonathan Smart and fourth round pick Jordan Sandhu.

Dozens of undrafted players are also in camp in hopes of impressing Rockets coaches and scouts and getting an invite to main camp which begins Tuesday.

All of the players will eventually return for another year of minor hockey in their hometowns.

Players attending camp were introduced to the Rockets organization, had a tour of the team's dressing room and heard from GM Bruce Hamilton as well as head coach Dan Lambert Wednesday.

"The only thing I ask is that you play hard,"says Hamilton.

"Don't wait until Sunday to show us how you can play. Start showing us tomorrow. Don't get discouraged. If you have a bad shift, don't get down."

Lambert, in his first year as Rockets head coach, introduced his new coaching staff including new assistants Kris Mallette and Travis Crickard, then told the players what they were looking for.

"We want you guys to compete hard every shift," says Lambert.

"We want guys that compete, have good body language and respect the game of hockey."

Among the prospects were the Rockets drafted players, however Hamilton said every player entered the camp with a shot to make the team.

"Starting tomorrow everyone is on the same page," says Hamilton. "Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and Josh Gorges were all walk-on players. Don't think it can't happen."

The Rockets open the pre-season schedule Saturday, Aug 30 when they host the Kamloops Blazers.

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