Kelowna Rockets draft Finnish blueliner

Playing for Finland’s U18 team last spring, Kelowna Rockets draft pick defenceman Lassie Thomson (right) tries to impede progress of Sweden player. Photo: Contributed

The Kelowna Rockets have selected right-shot defenceman Lassi Thomson 53rd overall in the first round of the 2018 CHL Import Draft.

Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton says the Finnish defenceman addresses a problem the club would have been facing heading into next season.

“We needed to get a defenceman. All of the reports of Lassi are that he’s a good, young player,” said Hamilton.

“It may take him a while to adjust, but we needed to add another defenceman, and we feel he will be a good fit here.”

Born in Tampere, Finland, Thomson is listed at 5-foot-11, 199 lbs. Last season while playing with Ilves U20, the 2000 born defender played in 49 games, recording 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points. He also racked up 44 penalty minutes.

On top of the solid regular season with Ilves U20, he also played in six games for Ilves U18, recording four goals and three assists for seven points.

The right-handed puck-moving D-man competed in the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship for Finland where he recorded two assists in seven games. He also took part in 20 other international junior games for Finland, notching three goals and adding seven assists for 10 points.

The Rockets don’t foresee any issues acquiring Thomson’s release from the Finnish Ice Hockey Federation. He is expected to be at the Rockets training camp in August.

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