Rockets top bantam pick ready to learn
When the Kelowna Rockets selected Saskatoon native Rourke Chartier with their first pick in this summer's Western Hockey League bantam draft, the 15-year-old Chartier wasted little time finding out more about the team that he belonged to.
And it didn't take long for Chartier to get excited about the future possibilities.
"I looked them up and saw that they had won quite a bit in the past," Chartier said. "It's pretty exciting. They have a winning tradition."
Chartier was in Kelowna last week along with his family as they were watching his sister participate in the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops.
He dropped by the Rockets dressing room to meet with management and coaches before getting in a workout alongside some of the Rockets returning and former players.
"I've been to Kelowna before but I have never been to the rink," he said. "It's a nice facility here. It's great to see all the pictures on the wall of the former players."
The Rockets picked Chartier with the 15th overall selection in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft. At the time Rockets head of scouting Lorne Frey called Chartier an offensive dynamo who the fans will come to know and love.
"We were very pleased to be able to pick Rourke," said Frey. "With him there is no question he will one day be a fan favourite one day. He's a dynamic player. He's excited and really pumped about being selected by Kelowna and we're looking forward to watching him develop."
Chartier returned home to Saskatoon before turning around and coming back to Kelowna for its rookie camp. As a 15-year-old, he will head back home to play a season of midget AAA hockey with the Saskatoon Contacts and is eligible to play in five games with the Rockets this year.
The 5-foot-9 centre says he is looking forward to one day becoming a Kelowna Rocket and to attending his first ever Rockets camp this year.
"I've always wanted to play in this league," he said. "I have a lot of relatives in the Okanagan so I'm excited to come and play for Kelowna one day."