Tyson Baillie and the Kelowna Rockets will host the Prince George Cougars Thursday night.

Rockets ‘more receptive’ than a year ago

More veteran group tuned into coaching staff, team philosophy

Ten games into the 2012-13 Western Hockey League campaign, the Kelowna Rockets have precisely the same record (4-5-1) as a year ago.

But as the coaches and returning players are all likely to tell you, there’s a dramatically different feeling inside and outside the club’s dressing room this season.

An older, more unified group than in 2011-12, the Rockets don’t expect to be playing sub-.500 hockey for too long.

“I think this group is a lot more receptive to what we’re trying to do as a team,” said head coach Ryan Huska. “They understand our expectations much better and, with the exception of a few bad penalties, we could have a few more points than we do.

“Our goal is to challenge to be one of the better teams in this league,” he added, “and when we have a healthy group, this room feels like we’re capable of winning a lot of hockey games.

“Our older guys have done a good job of setting an example and this is more like a family than we’ve had in some time.”

After playing seven of their first 10 games on the road, the Rockets are home for a pair of games this week—Thursday night against Prince George and Saturday against the Brandon Wheat Kings.

“We have 11 of our first 16 on the road, so it’s important to take advantage of these home games, improve on the way we played on the road and play with the right energy,” Huska said.

One challenge the Rockets will be facing, at least in the short-term, is a depth shortage up front.

Centre Ryan Olsen is sitting out a three-game suspension as the result of a checking to the head major Saturday in Victoria, while fellow forwards Zach Franko (day-to-day), Carter Rigby (three weeks) and J.T. Barnett (two weeks) are all sidelined with injuries.

To help fill the void, 16-year-old defenceman Riley Stadel will move up and play forward for the next couple of games.

 

Just Posted

Pets sit in Santa’s lap

Kelowna - The Okanagan Small Dog Rescue Society held a pet photo opt today

Your weekend highlights

Each week, the Capital News will highlight stories from the week

Comedian/magician visiting Lake Country

Wes Barker is performing at Creekside Theatre, Nov. 25

Good Natured Books celebrates first book launch in Kelowna

David Allen, the author of A Song for Swinging, is signing books at Wentworth Music today

Road closures in effect

Kelowna - The Old Vernon, Rutland and Acland Road intersection will close Nov. 20

Craft fair offers a taste of French culture

Kelowna - The Christmas Flair with a French Flair featured French goodies

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

Volunteers use drones in search for missing women

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

Massive monster truck tour held in Kelowna

Traxxas Monster Truck Tour will be here in January, 2018

Boomer radio expands

Kelowna resident Allen Holender continues to expand his network

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

Most Read