Andrew Cristall signs with Kelowna Rockets

Rockets ink top bantam pick

The Kelowna Rockets have secured the WHL playing rights to forward Andrew Cristall.

Cristall, the eighth overall selection in last month's WHL bantam draft, has signed a WHL Standard Player Agreement.

"It's an honour to be able to sign with such a great organization like the Kelowna Rockets," said Cristall.

"I can't wait to get things going and become a Rocket."

Cristall, 15, won't be eligible to play with the Rockets full-time until the 2021-2022 season.

He led the CSSBHL's St. George's School Bantam Prep team in scoring this past season with 80 points (43G, 37A) in 27 gamess. 

He added another seven points (4G, 3A) and two penalty minutes in two playoff games before the season was cut short due to COVID-19.

His 80 points during the regular season placed him second in league scoring, six back of the league leader.

Cristall is the younger brother of West Kelowna Warriors forward Tyler Cristall.

Kamloops Blazers netminder wins off-ice honour

Blazers goalie aces WHL

The academic accolades are continuing to come for the Kamloops Blazers.

Goalie Dylan Garand has picked up the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Memorial Trophy for his excellence on and off the ice and has been named the WHL's scholastic player of the year. Originally from Victoria, the 17-year-old netminder has been attending Valleyview Secondary since joining the team. He'll graduate with honours this year and a 96.5 average.

That's on top of his work inside the crease; we has the Blazers main goalie this season, participated in the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL top prospects game.

Victor Bifano, the Blazers' academic advisor, is a fan.

“Dylan is respected by his teammates as well as our staff, both as an excellent academic student and he provides excellent leadership,” he says in a press release. “He has managed his academics and hockey with a profound degree of maturity.”

As the WHL's scholastic player of the, he is now nominated for the CHL's scholastic award.

Garand is currently the sixth ranked North American goalie by NHL Central Scouting.

Earlier this week the Blazers were named scholastic team of the year, and last month Garand was named western conference scholastic player of the year, on his way to today's announcement.

Kyle Topping has signed with the AHL's San Jose Barracuda

Topping inks AHL deal

Former Kelowna Rocket Kyle Topping has found a place to continue his hockey journey - whenever the game starts up again.

Topping, 20, signed with the San Jose Barracuda, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's San Jose Sharks.

"Kyle is a playmaking two-way centerman with a high hockey IQ and we're excited for him to join the organization," said San Jose's general manager Joe Will in a Barracuda's release.

During a shortened 2019-2020 season, Topping had 12 goals and 33 points in 33 games.

He also missed 30 games after requiring surgery for a broken foot.

Topping had 71 goals and 196 points in 226 WHL games, all with the Rockets.

The signing came the day the AHL officially cancelled the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.

Dozens of smart cookies: Blazers win scholastic award

Blazers nab team trophy

While the Blazers had a solid year on the ice, they've just been recognized for their off-ice efforts.

The team has been awarded the WHL Scholastic Team of the Year Award from the WHL, receiving the Jim Donlevy Trophy. The award is a mark of the teams academic successes.

Players still in high school attend Valleyview Secondary; there, eight of the team completed dozens of courses with averages above 90 per cent. Three graduated early. At Thompson Rivers University four team members took courses, while four others were enrolled at Athabasca University, taking online courses.

This is the third time the team has won the award; they won after the 2014-15 season and the 2006-07 season.

Goalie Dylan Garand is up for the overall individual scholastic award as well, which will be announced later. He was named scholastic player of western conference previously.

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