Rockets pre-season sked

We haven't even hit summer yet, and the Kelowna Rockets are thinking of fall.

The Rockets announced their 2017-2018 pre-season schedule this week.

It includes just four games, three of which are at Prospera Place.

Kelowna will entertain Victoria Sept. 2 and Kamloops Sept. 5 and 8. The Rockets travel to Kamloops for their final pre-season game Sept. 9.

The pre-season schedule ends Sept. 16, with the regular season slated to open the following week.

The regular season schedule will be announced later this month.


Rockets audition for NHL

Two members of the Kelowna Rockets have returned from Buffalo after spending several days auditioning for the NHL.

Defenceman Cal Foote and forward Kole Lind were among 104 players who took part in the NHL combine.

The event included 14 strength and fitness tests and face-to-face interviews with NHL clubs in advance of this month's NHL entry draft.

"Overall, I thought it was a really fun week. They treated us unbelievably there," said Lind.

"It was busy, for sure, with meetings all week and the fitness testing on the weekend. It was really good though."

"It was an awesome week," said Foote. "The first interview process was a little nerve-wracking, but as the week went on, it was very fun."

Foote was ranked 12th among North American skaters in the final rankings released by NHL Central Scouting. Lind was rated 23rd.

Foote finished in the top 25 in five of the 14 fitness tests. Lind ranked in the top 25 in four of the tests.

The NHL draft will be held June 23 and 24 in Chicago. Both Foote and Lind are expected to attend.

Draft: Rockets look forward

The Kelowna Rockets found help up front during Thursday's Western Hockey League bantam draft.

The Rockets selected forwards with their first three picks.

After trading their first round pick to the Prince Albert Raiders as part of the Reid Gardiner deal, the Rockets had to wait until late in the second round before making their first pick.

They used the 39th overall pick to grab Ethan Bowan out of the Yale Hockey Academy.

The 5-11, 157-pounder out of Chilliwack, scored 33 goals and 29 assists in just 29 games this past season.

Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton, says Bowan fell into their lap.

"We're thrilled that we got to draft this player. We had him ranked much higher than where we picked him," said Hamilton.

"We're excited to introduce him to our coaching staff and to our players. He could be a strong player for our organization for years to come."

The Rockets continued to restock up front with their next two selections, taking forwards Ethan Ernst from Note Dame in the third round (61st overall), and Cole Carrier from the Sherwood Park Flyers with their first of two selections in the fourth round (71st).

That selection was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades.

Ernst had 19 goals and 33 points in 33 games this past season, while Carrier chipped in the 21 goals and 34 points in 35 games.

The rest of the Rockets draft class includes:

  • Round 4 (from Saskatoon) - Cole Carrier, centre
  • Round 4 - Rylan Donald, defenceman
  • Round 5 (from PG) - Kaeden Watkins, defenceman
  • Round 6 - Jake Poole, winger
  • Round 7 - James Bohn, defenceman
  • Round 8 (from Prince Albert) - Cole Tisdale, goalie
  • Round 9 (from Spokane) - Stephen Klesslering, forward
  • Round 9 - Robert Kincaid, defenceman
  • Round 10 (from Kootenay) - Brody Wilson, centre


Rockets get pro look

A couple of Kelowna Rockets won't be hanging up their skates just yet.

Forward Dillon Dube and defenceman Lucas Johansen are heading to the American Hockey League on amateur tryout contracts.

Dube, 18,  has been added to the roster of the AHL's Stockton Heat, while the 19-year-old Johansen is off to Hershey.

The Heat are the AHL affiliate of the NHL's Calgary Flames, who selected Dube in the second round of last year's entry draft.

Dube will be reunited with former Rocket head coach Ryan Huska, in his third season behind the Heat bench. Huska coached Dube briefly during training camp and the pre-season of the 2013-2014 season.

Dube, 15 at the time, was sent back to midget following the pre-season.

The Heat are in the midst of the Calder Cup playoffs. They are deadlocked at two-games apiece with the San Jose Barracuda in the best-of-five Pacific Division semi-final.

The fifth and deciding game is tonight in San Jose.

Dube will have a chance to renew acquaintances, albeit briefly, with former teammate Rourke Chartier, a member of the Barracuda.

Dube notched seven goals and 14 assists during the playoff run with the Rockets.

Johansen, meantime, joins the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals, a team which drafted him in the first round a year ago.

He'll join a team which will begin its second round playoff series against the Providence Bruins on the weekend. He'll also be reunited with former teammate Madison Bowey, in his second full season with the Bears.

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