With a gruelling stretch of hockey to start December, the Kelowna Rockets’ stamina—both mental and physical—will be put to the test.
Starting tonight in Spokane, the Rockets will play 10 games in a 17-day span, with the last seven straight to be played on the road.
“It’s always a tough time in December, because it’s a long haul for them being away from home,” said Rockets assistant coach Kris Mallette.
“It’s always an interesting stretch for us and having been around it now for three years, you have to just keep them focused.
“That’s the biggest thing for us knowing that we’ve got a lot of games in a short amount of time, and you throw in some travel with that, so attention to detail is going to be huge.”
Kelowna will also have to do without four key players for at least part of December. Nick Merkley and Dillon Dube will be in Blainville, QC, Dec. 10 to 14, for the Canadian junior selection camp, and another three weeks beyond that if either makes the team.
In addition, forwards Calvin Thurkauf (Switzerland) and Tomas Soustal (Czech Republic) are expected to play for their countries at the 2017 world junior championship in Montreal and Toronto.
The Rockets will host Brandon Saturday and Seattle next Wednesday, Dec. 7, before kick off their road trip Friday, Dec. 9 at Tri-City.