Ex-Kelowna Rocket JT Barnett has built a large following on social media

Former Rocket turned star

A former Kelowna Rockets forward has turned his passion for creating content into a major success story.

JT Barnett played 249 games in the WHL, with 42 of those games with the Rockets. Barnett spends his time creating social media content, and has a following over 100,000 on Instagram and over a million on TikTok. The social media influencer says he found his passion for content creation during his WHL career.

“I was DJing and making music in my billet-house bedroom, I was doing a little photography, I was making a little bit of video, but it wasn't as prominent when I was in Kelowna, but I was doing all that and was also very active on social media. That fuelled me with hockey,” said Barnett.

When Barnett finished his WHL career in 2013, he realized he wanted to get into content creation and become a social media influencer full time. He also credits his fiance, who was also very passionate for content creation, for getting him into the business.

“My girlfriend at the time, now fiance, was doing it for her job, while I was still in my last couple years of playing, so then I was like ‘alright this is what I want to do too,’” said Barnett.

The 29-year-old has also started up a hockey brand called Triple Deke, where his goal is to show the side of hockey players when they’re not on the ice, in hopes to grow the game for younger generations and those who don't necessarily follow hockey.

“I wanted to create a brand that goes to all of the up and coming generations, and helps them document their lifestyle and put out content around it, so that people who do or don't know who those players are can get a deeper view of who the players are as people because that's really how you fall in love with a player,” explained Barnett.

Triple Deke has built a following of 130,000 on Instagram, and can be found by clicking here.

Barnett said his time with the Rockets in Kelowna was something that he still cherishes, and loves to this day.

“It was my favourite place to play by far. We had an amazing team, I was 20-years-old so I felt like a father figure on that team, my mom grew up in Kelowna and my grandfather who I never got to meet, the press box was named after him. So, the kind of history that I have in that city, I could not hold it at a higher light than I do right now,” described Barnett.

Barnett said his path as a social media influencer isn't clear, as the expectations are constantly evolving due to its fast-paced environment, but he has his eyes set on becoming a teacher.

“I do want to teach in a traditional environment of being a college professor, but I want to do it on a much bigger scale where I start my own academy, college or school where I'm teaching people how to create a lifestyle and business around the things they’re interested in. I would do it by helping these creators start their business and build it into bigger businesses,” Barnett tells Castanet.

Barnett, who calls Los Angeles home now, said he has considered buying a second home in Kelowna some day, as he feels the Okanagan’s biggest city is an entrepreneurial hub for creators such as himself and his fiance Sam.

More WHL articles