Kelowna Rockets WHL News

WHL hardware for Cooke and Merkley

Kelowna Rockets
Kelowna Rockets' stopper Jordon Cooke (left) was named Wednesday the Western Hockey League's goaltender of the year, while Nick Merkley picked up the league's rookie of the year honours.
— image credit: Warren Henderson/Capital News

As a team, the Kelowna Rockets enjoyed the most successful regular season in franchise history.

Two players who played significant roles in their club's 57-win, 118-point campaign were honoured this week by the Western Hockey League.

At the league's awards ceremony Wednesday in Calgary, Jordon Cooke, 20, was named the league's goaltender of the year, while forward Nick Merkley, 16, was selected as the WHL's rookie of the year for 2013-14.

Cooke, in his fourth and final season with the Rockets, racked up some impressive numbers between the pipes with 39 wins, a 92.2 save percentage and 2.28 goals against average.

"I'd like to thank my team, game in and game out they did everything possible for me," Cooke said upon accepting the award. "Our year has been so amazing, I think this is just a reflection of how well we did."

Rockets head coach Ryan Huska commended Cooke for a stellar final season of junior hockey.

"There's no doubt Jordon was our most valuable player this year, he was the guy who raised his level of play when we needed him to," Huska said of the Leduc, Alta. native. "He came in this year with something to prove, that he was the best goaltender in our league, and that's what he did. Working with (goalie coach) Kim Dillabaugh, Jordon just continued to get better, and the recognition is well-deserved."

In Merkley's case, the Calgary native scored 25 goals and added 33 assists in 68 regular season games to lead all 16-year-old WHL players in scoring.  And while it wasn't part of the voting process, the talented centre added 17 more points in 14 playoff games.

"Just like to say thank you to my coach, Ryan Huska he helped a lot throughout the year," Merkley said. "I think coming in as a 15-year-old (last year) and getting that playoff run in was good for me."

Huska said Merkley is a unique young player with a bright future in the game.

"We knew Nick was a special player when he started with us," Huska said. "He started with a small role, but it wasn't long before he earned more ice time and became one of our key forwards. He's a guy who works as hard as he can, and he sees the game differently than most players do. He has some high-end abilities that you don't often see. We're excited for him."

The Rockets were also honoured Wednesday for winning the WHL's overall regular season title and the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy.

For a list of all the award winners, visit whl.ca.

Bantam draft…

The Rockets will have the 22nd and last pick in the opening round of the WHL bantam draft tomorrow in Calgary. The league's 22 teams will choose available 1999-born talent from Western Canada and the Western U.S.

Olsen to AHL…

Rockets' forward Ryan Olsen has joined the Winnipeg Jets' AHL affiliate, the St. John's IceCaps, for the remainder of the playoffs. Olsen, 19, was drafted by the Jets in the sixth round of the 2012 draft and signed an entry level deal with the NHL club this season.

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Part III: Youth Dealing with Depression
 
Part I: Mental Health for Children and Youth – How to Get the Help You Need
 
Part II: Fear Not – There is Help for Children and Youth with Anxiety
Another title for tier 3 midgets
 
Schell: Cook books are always welcome gifts at Christmas
 
Canada man finds woman for free trip around world
Interior Health: The dairy dilemma
 
Not Everyone Likes Every Place They Travel To, You Know...
 
Ebola fighters named Time Person of the Year

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event




Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 19 edition online now. Browse the archives.