Eight members of the Okanagan Rockets will take part in the 2012-13 B.C. Major Midget League all-star game Jan. 18 in Langley.
The six players representing the Rockets are goaltender Brenden Mills, defencemen Alex Gran and Joe Gatenby, and forwards Brenden Wagner, Brett Mennear, and Josh Blanchard.
Rockets head coach James Eccles has been named the coach of Team Red, while general manager David Michaud had been named the manager of the event for the second time in three seasons.
“Overall, our group is honoured to have such strong representation at this year’s event,” said general manager David Michaud. “It’s always tough to see so many of our players who are certainly deserving of going and representing us not getting the nod. It’s unfortunate, but the truth is that we feel we have 20 all-stars on the Rockets this year. The group that has received the nomination will proudly represent our program on behalf of our entire group.”
Mills is in his seconnd year with the Rockets and is tied for third in wins (9) and has posted a 3.15 goals against average for the Rockets this season.
Gran is a three-year veteran of the Rockets and will be making his first all-star game appearance. The 17-year-old Kelowna native leads all BCMML defencemen in points with 28. With 98 games played in a Rockets uniform, Gran is already the all-time leader in games played for the club.
Gatenby, in his first year with the Rockets has made an immediate impact, with two goals and 11 assists. Gatenby, 15, is a second round pick of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets.
“Joe has made a very nice transition from bantam hockey to the BCMML,” said Michaud. “He skates the puck well and has displayed excellent vision. He logs a fair amount of ice time for us, especially considering he is a first year player on an older team. I’m expecting big things from Joe in the 2nd half of our season, and into the playoffs for us.”
Wagner is in his second season with the Rockets and was named captain of the club in September. Wagner has set career highs in both goals (19) and points (39) already this season.
Mennear is in his second season with the Rockets and has already surpassed his totals from a season ago. He is third in Rockets scoring and seventh in league scoring with 15 goals and 23 assists for 38 points in 24 games.
Blanchard is in his 1st season with the Rockets and has made a seamless transition from the Tier 1 Jr. Rockets. Blanchard is tied for the lead league in goals with 24 and ranks second in the league with 45 points in just 24 games. Blanchard recently was listed by the Everett Silvertips of the WHL.
Head Coach James Eccles will make his first appearance as a head coach at the event after being an assistant last season. Eccles is in his second year with the Rockets and has posted a career record of 38-14-12, good for a .688 winning percentage.
The all-star weekend will feature BCMML doubleheaders for 10 of the 11 teams. The Rockets will face the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds for two games.
In the meantime, the Rockets will be busy over the holiday break as they head to Calgary for the Mac’s Midget Tournament. Okanagan will open the tournament on Boxing Day against the Carolina U18 Hurricanes.