Rockets launch draft deal

UPDATE: 12:30

Kelowna Rockets president and GM Bruce Hamilton was busy Thursday, swinging four deals with an eye on now, and the future.

Hamilton dealt the fifth pick in the annual bantam draft to Brandon for the rights to defenceman Sean Comrie and the 10th pick.

He then sent that pick to Seattle along with overage forward Connor Bruggen-Cate and a pair of future selections for defenceman Jake Lee, forward Dillon Hamaliuk and goaltender Cole Schwebius.

Hamilton also moved next year's fifth round selection to Brandon for the Wheat Kings sixth, seventh and eight round selections. He also made a deal with Kamloops to acquire the Blazers 10th round pick this year.

Entering the draft, the Rockets had just five picks in the first 10 rounds. With all the dealing, they came away with eight.

The Rockets used their first pick of the draft to grab Saskatoon centre Nolan Flamand in the second round.

The 5'7", 135 pounder had five goals and 22 assists in 41 games last season.

In the fourth round, the selected 5'10" centre Jayden Joly from Fort Saskatchewan. Joly had 22 goals and 53 points in 30 games with Fort Saskatchewan in the Major Bantam League.

Other selections Thursday include:

  • 5th round - John Babcock - defenceman
  • 6th round - Jiri Kykkanen - goaltender
  • 6th round - Maxwell Sanford - forward
  • 7th round - Jackson Smith - defenceman
  • 8th round - Damion Gardner - centre
  • 10th round - Rilen Kovacevic - forward

Kovacevic was one of six Central Okanagan players taken in the draft, and the only player taken from the Pursuit of Excellence program.

Others taken include:

  • 5th round - Mason Finley - Calgary
  • 6th round - Vaughn Watterodt - Kamloops
  • 10th round - Lynden Hanvold - Vancouver
  • 12th round - Ridge Dawson - Spokane
  • 13th round - Carter Schmidt - Everett

UPDATE: 8:25 a.m.

The Kelowna Rockets made a splash at the Western Hockey League's bantam draft Thursday morning in Red Deer.

After moving down from fifth to 10th in an earlier deal, Rockets president and GM Bruce Hamilton moved the Number 10 pick to the Seattle Thunderbirds along with two future picks and 20-year-old forward Connor Bruggen-Cate for a trio of players.

The Rockets acquired defenceman Jake Lee, forward Dillon Hamaliuk and goaltender Cole Schwebius in the deal.

The two moves will strengthen the Rockets as they prepare to host the Memorial Cup next season.

"This trade will have a big impact on our team," said Hamilton.

"Lee is a strong defenceman, he always has an influence when he is on the ice. He is a top prospect that will hear his name called alongside fellow Rockets defencemen Kaeden Korczak and Lassi Thomson at the NHL draft."

Hamilton described Hamaliuk as another top player who was having a great start to last season before an injury ended his season.

He said the acquisition of Schwebius, a Kelowna product, will give the Rockets insurance between the pipes.

Lee, who will enter his 'age 18' season, was a former first round bantam pick. He had three goals and 21 assists in 67 games last season.

Hamaliuk, entering his 'age 19' year had 11 goals and 15 assists before injury derailed his season after just 31 games.

Schwebius got into 17 games with the T-Birds last season, posting a 5-8-2-0 record with a 3.89 goals against average.

He gives the Rockets three veteran goaltenders, alongside Roman Basran and James Porter.

Along with Bruggen-Cate, the Rockets also gave up their second round bantam pick in 2021 and first rounder in 2022.

The Rockets hold second, fourth, fifth and sixth round picks in the draft.

ORIGINAL: 8 a.m.

The Kelowna Rockets pulled the trigger on a big draft day deal Thursday morning.

Kelowna Traded the 5th overall selection at this year's 2019  Bantam Draft to the Brandon Wheat Kings, in exchange for 2000 born defenceman Sean Comrie's rights and the 10th overall pick at this year's draft as well.

"Sean wasn't happy with his situation this past season," said Rockets President/General Manager, Bruce Hamilton. "He wasn't happy with his minutes and role on the team. When we heard that he was available, it made sense for us to go after him. He's a strong player and will give us more depth on the blueline."

The Edmonton native was originally drafted 44th overall in the second round of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft by the Brandon Wheat Kings. He played for the University of Denver this past season where he had an assist in 18 games with the Pioneers and made an appearance at the NCAA's Frozen Four Tournament.

The 6'0, 168-pound defender suited up for the Spruce Grove Saints during the 2017-2018 season where he had 34 points (7G, 27A) in 54 games, helping the Saints capture the Doyle Cup as AJHL champions.

The NHL's Central Scouting Service has listed Comrie 108th amongst North American skaters for the upcoming NHL Draft this June in Vancouver.

More WHL articles