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WHL  

Rockets ready for opener

The Kelowna Rockets will be close to full strength when they start the new Western Hockey League season Friday night.

Only forward Dillon Dube is expected to miss the season opener.

Dube has had a strong training camp and pre-season with the NHL's Calgary Flames. He picked up a pair of assists and was third star in a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday night. He remains in Calgary, but could return on the weekend.

Defenceman Cal Foote was the only other Rocket still at an NHL camp, but was sent back Thursday by. the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Kamloops Blazers will provide the opposition Friday night.

It will be the fourth straight game between the two teams, who met three times in the pre-season, with the Rockets winning all three, including the last game in a shootout.

Head coach Jason Smith will have 26 players to choose from. Fourteen forwards, 10 defenceman and two goaltenders remain in town, however that number will be pared down.

The Rockets and Blazers met 10 times in the regular season last year, with the Rockets winning four. Kelowna also won a six-game playoff series with the Blazers.

The two teams will hook up again Saturday for the Blazers' home opener.



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