Forward Cole Linaker is one of four 20-year-old players with the Kelowna Rockets. The WHL team must settle on its three overage roster spots by next Thursday.

Crunch time for Rockets 20s

WHL team has to reduce to limit of three overage players by Oct. 15

For one member of the defending Western Hockey League champs, this will be their final week in a Kelowna Rockets’ uniform.

Like all WHL teams, the Rockets must declare their three overage players by Oct. 15.

Kelowna currently has four 20-year-old players on the roster—Jackson Whistle, Tyson Baillie, Cole Linaker and Gage Quinney.

Rockets’ president and general manager Bruce Hamilton has been searching around for possible trade partners, but as of Thursday hadn’t made a lot of headway.

“Unless something jumps out, it’s likely going to be next week before anything is done,” said Hamilton. “Right’s now we’re seeing where there’s interest. We’re going to try and do what’s best for the team and best for the player.”

Hamilton is hoping to acquire a player or a draft pick in return, but added there’s no guarantee a deal is imminent.

If no trade is made, the Rockets would have to place one of the four players on waivers.

Baillie currently leads the WHL in scoring with 12 points, while Whistle is 4-0-0 as the club’s No. 1 netminder.

Quinney and Linaker have been alternating in and out of the team’s lineup and have each played in five games. Quinney had two goals and five assists, while Linaker had two goals and three assists.

Whoever the odd man out happens to be, Hamilton said it will be tough to see him go.

“They’re not only very valuable players, but they’re all good people,” he said of the four players. “That makes this difficult.”

Ideally, Hamilton would like to acquire an experienced defenceman, but said few teams are likely to part with such a commodity this early in the WHL season.

 

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