The Kelowna Rockets got a brief glimpse of the future during their pre-Christmas tour of Alberta and they liked what they saw.
Fifteen-year-old defencemen Jesse Lees and Madison Bowey have both made official commitments to the Rockets after making their Western Hockey League debuts last week.
Lees, from Calgary, played Friday night against the Hitmen, while Bowey, a Winnipeg native, suited up last Wednesday night as the Rockets visited the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
According to the coaching staff, neither rookie prospect looked the least bit out of place, a positive sign for the future of the Rockets’ blue line corps.
“We’re very excited that Madison and Jesse have committed to playing for the Rockets,” said Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton. “They are an important part of our future and we’re looking forward to seeing them next year.”
Lees and Bowey were the Rockets first two picks in the 2010 WHL bantam draft. Lees was chosen ninth overall, while Bowey went in the 23rd spot.
“We were very pleased with the draft,” said Rockets head scout Lorne Frey. “The bottom line in this league is you don’t win without defencemen and we feel we got the two best defencemen in the draft.”
Lees plays with the Calgary midget AAA North Stars, while Bowey is a member of the Winnipeg Monarchs midget AAA team.
Bowey initially expressed an interest in pursuing a scholarship and education south of the border, but decided the Canadian major junior route was the better option.
Both players are eligible to play in five games with the Rockets this season, before their respective team finish the playoffs.
Rocket Shots…The Rockets (19-15-0-0) head into the Christmas break in secons spot in the B.C. Division, one point behind Prince George…Kelowna closed out its five-game pre-holiday tour of Alberta with a 3-2 record…The Rockets return to action Tuesday, Dec. 28 at home to the Everett Silvertips.