Kelowna product Mitchell Prowse is in his second season with the WHL’s Victoria Royals. -Image: Warren Henderson/Capital News

Kelowna-bred D-man at home with Royals

Mitchell Prowse enjoying plenty of ice time as 17-year-old blueliner in WHL

As a fan of Kelowna Rockets’ games growing up, Mitchell Prowse often envisioned the day he’d be playing in the Western Hockey League.

Now in his second season of major junior hockey, the 17-year-old Kelowna native has not only arrived but has quickly developed into a steady and reliable rearguard for the Victoria Royals.

After playing in just 38 games in his rookie season with the Royals, Prowse has raised his game to another level in 2017-18.

“I give him a lot of credit, he didn’t play a lot last year, but he stuck with his off-ice training and worked hard at practise,” said Royals’ assistant coach Doug Bodger. “He really stepped up in the playoffs last year and has just kept it going from there.

“He does lot of things well, especially in the defensive zone, Mitchell is smart and has great awareness. He has a great attitude, too, and has fit in well with our group.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Prowse came up through Kelowna’s minor hockey system, then played two seasons at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton.

A second-round bantam draft pick of the Royals in 2015, Prowse is watching his WHL career unfold more or less how he hoped it would.

“It’s been great this year, I’ve been getting lots of ice time and my confidence has really grown,” said Prowse, who has played in all five games—all victories—for Victoria this season.

“I learned a lot from last year, being in and out of the lineup. I had lots of time to work on my game, improve and see what I needed for this upcoming year and to make an impact.”

And not surprisingly, Prowse also appreciates the success the Royals are enjoying as a team. Victoria (5-0-0-0) remains the Western Conference’s only unbeaten team following Wednesday night’s 8-3 win over the hometown Kelowna Rockets.

“It’s a great start, we’re looking to keep going and build on this, so I’m excited,” Prowse said. “We’ve got a great group here, it’ll be a good year.”

As for playing at Prospera Place, Prowse always enjoys being back in familiar surroundings. Watching his Royals pick up two points Wednesday was an added bonus.

“It’s awesome, it’s fun coming home and playing in front of a lot of family and friends. It’s even better getting the win for them and playing well, it’s exciting.”

Prowse is one of three Central Okanagan products on the Royals’ defensive corps. West Kelowna native and L.A. Kings’ prospect Chaz Reddekopp, 20, is back for his fifth and final season with Victoria. Kelowna’s Anthony Bishop joined the Royals this season from the Seattle Thunderbirds.