The Kelowna Rockets have been a major part of the city for almost two decades, showcasing high-level hockey, future NHL stars and have created an unbreakable bond with the city and its fans.
Only once since joining the league have the Rockets finished with a record below .500. The Rockets have a whopping 17 banners hanging in the rafters at Prospera Place, which includes a 2004 Memorial Cup banner, four WHL Championship banners and seven division titles.
Since COVID-19 has put a halt to the 2019-20 season, what better time to take a trip down memory lane? From Jesse Schultz to Tyson Barrie and Kelly Guard, we will remember some of the best single-season accomplishments from Rockets players in franchise history.
Jesse Schultz – Most goals in a season (2003)
Schultz was traded to the Kelowna Rockets for the 2001-02 season where he posted a respectable 28 goals and 64 points. As a surprise to many, he was passed over in the NHL draft in his second year of eligibility. Many NHL scouts considered him to be too small and too slow for the top league. But, the following season he would prove doubters wrong, scoring a franchise-record 53 goals and 104 points, earning himself a pro contract with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.
Marty Flichel – Most assists in a season (1996)
Flichel is a retired pro his most known for his eight seasons spent with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads, retiring as the franchise leader in games, goals, assists and points. His best statistical season came when he played for the Rockets during their inaugural season in 1995-96 season after relocating from Tacoma. That year he racked up a single-season franchise record of 79 assists that contributed to his 107 points.
Robb Gordon – Most points in a season (1996)
Robb Gordon began his junior career with the Powell River Paper Kings in 1992 where he scored at an elite level and was subsequently drafted by the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. After two years in the BCJHL, Gordon made the jump to the Rockets where he would serve as Flichel’s centerman during the 1995-96 season. He registered a single-season franchise record of 107 points, which included 51 goals. He later went on to play four games with the Canucks during the 1998-99 season.
Tyson Barrie – Most points in a season by a defenceman (2010)
Barrie began his junior career with the Rockets at the end of the 2006-07 season. In his rookie season, he posted nine goals and 34 assists, showing glimpses of the player he would develop into. He would go on to play three more seasons with the Rockets, but his best year came during the 2009-10 season where he registered a single-season franchise record of 19 goals and 72 points. Barrie’s elite skating and superb vision made him a fan favourite in Kelowna where his mural still stands at Prospera Place. He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche where he spent seven seasons before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2019-20 season.
Kelly Guard – Most wins in a season by a goaltender (2004)
Kelly Guard may be regarded as the best goaltender in Rockets history. Not only did he register a franchise record of 44 wins during the 2003-04 season, but he also posted a franchise record goals-against average of 1.56 and guided the Rockets to a Memorial Cup victory the same year. Despite his impressive accomplishments, Guard was never drafted to the NHL and only played five years of pro hockey after junior.