With both injuries and losses stacking up, the timing couldn’t be much better for the Kelowna Rockets.
The Western Hockey League club will welcome Brett Bulmer back after the 6-foot-3 forward was reassigned to the junior ranks this week by the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
“I think it helps a lot of people feel quite a bit better,” said Rockets head coach Ryan Huska. “Brett is a very big impact player at our level and to get him back at a time when we’re struggling on the ice and so short of bodies, it should be a nice lift for the guys.”
The Wild chose not to play Bulmer past the nine-game mark in the NHL, thereby avoiding having to use up the first year of his three-year entry level contract.
With Minnesota, the Prince George native had no goals and three assists in nine games and was averaging 11 minutes of ice time per game.
Asked whether he expects the emotional letdown of not sticking with the Wild to hinder Bulmer’s play, Huska said the 19-year-old forward has many reasons not allow his game to falter—including a potential invite to Canada’s world junior team camp.
“Minnesota has let him know what they expect of him here, and Brett needs to look at the big picture,” said Huska. “He has a lot to play for and we expect him to play with a lot of urgency. He has a world junior opportunity in front of him and not a lot of time to impress people.
“He needs to be consistent with his effort, play with speed and play with pace, and be the player he’s capable of.”
Bulmer is expected at Rockets’ practise on Tuesday and will be in the lineup this weekend when the club hosts the Portland Winterhawks for a doubleheader, Friday and Saturday nights at Prospera Place.
The Rockets (5-9-1-0) have just two wins in their last 12 games and currently have six players sidelined with injuries—F Jessey Astles (head), F Spencer Main (upper body), D Myles Bell (lower body), D Kevin Smith (upper body), F Carter Rigby (head), and D Jesse Lees (upper body).