Lorne Frey is going home after 29 years with the Kelowna Rockets

Frey: I have no regrets

Lorne Frey leaves the Kelowna Rockets after 29 years with the organization with no regrets.

Earlier this week Frey, the Rockets head scout, director of players personnel and assistant general manager, announced, at age 70, he's retiring from the day-to-day working with the team.

He will be available as a senior advisor from Swift Current, where he is relocating to in order to be closer to his family.

"I have no regrets. I'm not an individual who says I told you so, or I go back and say we should have done this or we should have done that," said Frey in an interview with Castanet News.

"We live and die by the decisions we make, and once we make those decisions, you live with them. You believe in yourself, and you believe in what you've done."

Frey, who annually runs the Rockets bantam draft, says to a fault he has believed in every player he has selected, and has always fought for them.

"If a decision is trying to be made where I don't think they should be moved, I'll fight tooth and nail to keep them.

I believe in my abilities. My decisions, right or wrong, I don't regret any of them. For the most part, I've liked what we've done and what we've accomplished."

Frey's last day on the job was Wednesday, overseeing his final bantam draft.

He selected 11 players during what he described earlier in the week as a very deep draft.

The Rockets had picks in the first three rounds then, through previous trades, didn't pick again until the sixth round.

Frey says he really liked the players they got in the first three rounds and adds there are some good, intriguing  prospects from the sixth round on.

"Obviously they have areas they have to improve in, grow and develop.

"We think the majority of them are skilled, they all have good skating ability, they're smart, but it's a question now of growing physically and developing. If we can get three, four or five out of that group, we'll be very pleased."

Frey is very high on eighth overall pick Andrew Cristall, a forward out of Vancouver and second round pick Caden Price, a defenceman from Saskatoon.

Price scored 31 goals in 31 games last season.

"He is an outstanding player. He's big, he's got good size, he's got great skating ability, great hockey sense and great puck skills. And, he can really shoot the puck.

"The area that he certainly has to work on, like all young defenceman, is the defensive play. That's all a part of growing and developing. But, the overall skill and skating ability is there."

Over the years, Frey has unearthed a lot of gems in the draft, perhaps none better than Colin Long, who was drafted in the 11th round.

Long is the last Rocket to his the 100 point mark in a season, doing so during the 2007-2008 season.

As much as that selection sticks out, Frey says he was just as proud of undrafted players he and his scouting staff were able to unearth.

"You go back even prior to that...guys like Josh Gorges, Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, Ryan Cuthbert, Travis Moen, Justin Keller. None of those guys were drafted, they were listed players," he said.

"Those kind of players were probably more beneficial to us than even our drafted players."

Weber may have been the biggest coup of them all, a player Frey says he wasn't really on his radar at the time.

"We went to a bantam playoff game on the Westside in the spring prior to our draft, and there were two kids out of Sicamous who were highly rated," he recalled.

"I went to the bantam game and Shea was there, he was their captain. I said this guy looks pretty good. I saw him again the next weekend - he was nothing flashy at the time, good skater good puck mover and he was strong."

Frey said he liked the way Weber played, but never thought he would turn out to become the player he did.

"I just thought he would be a good, solid defenceman who could move the puck. To turn out the way he turned out was never in the cards."

He also singled out fan-favourite Tyler Mosienko, Troy Bodie and Scott Parker as players who surprised him with the ability they displayed throughout their time with the Rockets.

Under Frey, the Rockets captured four Western Hockey League championships and one Memorial Cup.

Whoever is named to replace him will have very, very big shoes to fill.

More WHL articles