On the heels of another stellar regular season, four members of the Kelowna Rockets, including the team’s coach and the team’s president, have been named finalists for the Western Hockey League’s 2014-15 awards.
Dan Lambert is the Western Conference nominee for coach of the year.
In his first season as head coach, Lambert steered the Rockets to a 53-13-5-1 record and the B.C. Division title.
Lambert was quick to share the recognition with the entire Rockets team.
“It’s our staff that’s being recognized, not just the coach,” Lambert said. “I know there’s not too many guys who would say they could do this without good players and we have a lot of those. The fact that Bruce (Hamilton) and Lorne (Frey) have supplied us with so many quality players, allows us to have success as coaches and as a team.”
The Eastern Conference nominee is Regina Pats’ coach John Paddock.
Rockets’ president and GM Bruce Hamilton was named as the Western Conference nominee for the Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy as the league’s top executive of the year.
Hamilton, whose Rockets have compiled three consecutive 50-win seasons and three straight B.C. Division titles, is a finalist along with Eastern Conference nominee and Brandon Wheat Kings’ GM, Kelly McCrimmon.
Rockets’ centre Rourke Chartier is the Western Conference nominee for the WHL’s most sportsmanlike player. Chartier took just 16 minutes in penalties this season, while scoring 48 goals in 58 games. The Eastern finalist is Brandon’s Peter Quenneville.
Rockets defenceman Joe Gatenby was named the Western finalist as the scholastic player of the year. The 17-year-old Gatenby averaged better than a 90 per cent average in all of his classes this year at KSS. Prince Albert’s Nick McBride is the Eastern nominee.
The winners, along with the WHL’s player of the year, will be announced Wednesday, May 6 at the league’s awards in Calgary.
Four Rockets all-stars…
Four Rockets players have been recognized as Western Conference all-stars.
Defenceman Madison Bowey and forward Rourke Chartier were named to the first all-star squad, while defenceman Josh Morrissey and forward Nick Merkley were second-team selections.
Bowey, 19, led all Kelowna blueliners with 17 goals and 60 points. Chartier led the Rockets in goals with 48, while Merkley was tops on the team in assists (70) and points (90).
Morrissey, who was acquired midseason from the Prince Albert Raiders, had 17 points in 20 games with the Rockets.