Hope for new Rocket season

The sting of the end of last season is the furthest thing from the minds of the Kelowna Rockets as they embark on a new season with new hope and a fresh start.

The Rockets season ended with a 5-1 blowout in a tie-breaker game in Kamloops. That game in the distant past, the Rockets are looking ahead to a season which is guaranteed to end with an appearance in the Memorial Cup.

The season will also begin with a new attitude and new culture, a promise from head coach Adam Foote, who made strides in changing the attitude and culture of the team after taking over part-way through last season.

While he hasn't had a lot of time with the entire squad with seven players missing at NHL camps through much of his training camp and pre-season, Foote likes what he sees with the changes he is trying to instill.

"There is buy in, I can feel it," said Foote prior to Saturday's regular season opener.

"I think the guys are going to get it faster if they know they are not going to feel shame, or get in trouble for not getting done. We always say you're going to get it eventually...whether it's one week, or two, or four."

Foote says he wants everyone on the roster to embrace their role, whether they're a first-line goal scorer or fourth line checker, a starter or a back-up.

"We have to help them recognize how important their position is and their role. I think sometimes as coaches, we forget to do that.

"In our society, we care too much about the goals and assists, instead of focusing on how we got them, or how we problem solved, how we strategized."

The Rockets will enter the new season with 10 new faces including defencemen Jake Lee, Sean Comrie and Carson Sass, forward Dillon Hamaliuk and goaltender Cole Schwebius all obtained through trade.

Pavel Novak was selected in the import draft while forwards Trevor Wong, Jake Poole and Deegan Mofford and defenceman Elias Carmichael were bantam selections who have made the roster as rookies.

The Rockets open the season against the Spokane Chiefs tonight, their only game on opening weekend.

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