Marissa Baecker/Shoot The Breeze Travis Crickard (left) and Kris Mallette are each in their third seasons as assistant coaches with the Kelowna Rockets.

Assistants lend stability to Rockets’ staff

Kris Mallette and Travis Crickard provide support for Kelowna head coach

For the Kelowna Rockets there are two rather unsung heroes that quietly keep the ship sailing for the players.

Assistant coaches Kris Mallette and Travis Crickard are each at the end of their third regular season as assistants with the Western Hockey League team.

The tandem has been coaching with the Rockets since the start of the 2014-2015 season. They won the WHL championship that year and fell one goal short of a Memorial Cup.

Friday night’s battle with the Everett Silvertips will mark the pair’s 215th game as coaches of the Rockets. They passed the 200-game mark with a 5-0 win over the Giants on Feb. 11 in Vancouver.

Rockets goaltender Brodan Salmond, in his second season with the club, who collected a shutout in that win against Vancouver, spoke about the importance of the two assistant coaches.

“They’re fun guys to be around. They can keep it light in the room, but also they’re serious at the same time,” Salmond explained. “They don’t get all the credit they deserve. They’re hard working guys with all the preparation they do for power play video, penalty kill video, all that stuff, they’re pretty smart hockey wise and so far they’ve done a great job.

“They’ve got a great relationship with the players, you can joke around and poke fun with them a bit so they’re great to have around.”

The players aren’t the only ones who appreciate the help. Head coach Jason Smith said Mallette and Crickard have made his first season coaching in the WHL much easier.

“For me, in my first year coaching in the Western League, having two young, knowledgeable guys that know the league and the league’s players has been very important,” said Smith. “They have insight into the way certain teams will play and what certain players do for certain teams. The time they put in and the effort they put in breaking down the games gives us intel and preparation for what we can expect from teams has been very good.

“They put in a lot of time and they work hard and they have very good relationships with the players which is really good.”

For Crickard, Friday night marks his 282nd game as a coach in Major Junior hockey. He spent the season prior to joining the Rockets as an Assistant Coach of the Ottawa 67’s in the OHL. He was rewarded for his time and effort by being named to the coaching staff of this year’s CIBC Canada Russia Series WHL team.

Mallette’s playing and coaching career has come full circle with the Rockets. The Kelowna product played parts of three seasons with the WHL club, from 1996 to 1999.

Just Posted

On the Lawn lawn bowling tournament raises over $28,000 for Kelowna-based charity

On the Lawn has raised over $100,000 for Elevation Outdoors in the past five years

Kelowna man arrested after allegedly setting blaze near Fire Department

The man was allegedly seen lighting bushes on fire near the Kelowna Fire Department

Kelowna mothers to share grief, spread awareness for Overdose Day

Moms Stop the Harm is hosting an event for International Overdose Awareness Day in Kerry Park

Latino-American rock ‘n’ roll band The Mavericks coming to Kelowna

Kelowna is the only B.C. stop on the band’s worldwide tour

UBC Okanagan Heat score 10 goals in pre-season double-header

Two exhibition wins in the U.S. to start the year for the mens Heat squad

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Penticton man sentenced in non-fatal 2017 shooting

Elkena Michael Knauff sentenced to seven and a half months in jail

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pregnant teachers fight to change WorkSafeBC compensation rules

Agency does not recognize risk to unborn babies when mother catches illness from work

Kamloops RCMP locate and arrest man who fled from police

The 22-year-old male was wanted in relation to a domestic violence investigation

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

EDITORIAL: The best or the least worst

Negative messaging abandons the quest for the best and instead asks voters to choose the least worst

Most Read