Members of the Kelowna Rockets gather around goaltender Jordon Cooke Wednesday to celebrate the club's record setting 53rd win

Franchise records set, bigger goals ahead for Rockets

Kelowna Rockets beat Spokane Wednesday in WHL action to set new standards for wins and points

Bruce Hamilton applauded his team and gave credit where credit was due—but the celebration was short-lived.

Hamilton’s Kelowna Rockets established two new franchise records on Wednesday night with a 3-1 Western Hockey League win over the visiting Spokane Chiefs at Prospera Place.

It was the Rockets’ 53rd victory of 2013-14, breaking the single-season record for wins set just one year ago. Kelowna (53-10-0-4) also pushed its point total to 110, surpassing the former club record of 109 set during the 2002-03 season.

The Rockets’ general manager said the records are worthy of praise and recognition, but are simply a step towards the team’s ultimate goal.

“It’s a testament to the kids, they’ve played hard all year, and our coaches have done a wonderful job with them,” Hamilton said. “But we’re not hung up on those kind of things around here, the numbers, we’re more interested in winning the league and playing in May, that’s what this plan’s all about. It’s just another win to be quite honest…the kids’ll enjoy it, I’m real proud of their effort this year.”

With five games remaining in the regular season, Hamilton said the Rockets are focused on a strong finish, locking up the WHL’s overall title, and being healthy and rested for the post-season.

Kelowna has the inside track on the Portland Winterhawks who are nine points back of the Rockets, with six games left. Any combination of Rockets wins and Portland losses totalling two, and Kelowna would clinch top spot in the WHL and their first Scotty Munro Trophy since 2004.

“We certainly want to clinch the title, it’s unique any time you get a chance to do that,” he said. “But getting through to the end and being healthy is going to be real important. It’d be nice to be able to give some of these guys some time off, but the way Portland has played we’ve never been allowed to do that. We’ve just got to keep going here and work hard to win.”

On Wednesday night, rookie Nick Merkley scored twice, his 21st and 22nd of the season, to lead the Rockets past the Chiefs. Goaltender Jordon Cooke made 29 saves—many of the spectacular variety—to notch his 37th win of the season, tying his career-high set last year.

The Rockets return to action Saturday night when they host the Tri-City Americans, 7 p.m.

On Tuesday, the B.C. Division-rival Victoria Royals will pay a visit to Prospera Place.


Just Posted

Valley Road closed 24-7, for now

Kelowna road closure extended due to safety concerns to build creek retaining wall

Accused killer’s fate in the hands of Kelowna jury

The jury is expected to start deliberating this afternoon

Silver Creek RCMP search expands north

RCMP were seen collecting evidence three kilometres north of the farm where human remains were found

Above and beyond for the United Way

Local company keeps on raising money for the United Way of the Central Okanagan

Have your say on downtown parking in Kelowna

Open house scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 24.

Rally condemns violence, promotes healing

Discovery of human remains and disappearances of women have created tension in the rural community

Justice to decide court’s jurisdiction over Indigenous man

Alex Louie, also known as Senklip, is standing trial over 9 charges related to alleged gun smuggling

Province grants $784,000 for Okanagan projects

Rural Dividend grants support Okanagan community projects

B.C. NDP convention set for Victoria

Premier, federal leader Jagmeet Singh to add energy

B.C. school trustee calls LGBTQ school program ‘weapon of propaganda’

Chilliwack’s Barry Neufeld published the comments on his Facebook page

B.C. couple hope boat drone becomes first to cross Atlantic

Colin and Julie Angus of Victoria to have drone collect environmental data en route

Driver trapped for 16 hours after car flips

Member of Anarchist Mountain Volunteer Fire Department in Osoyoos made discovery while out for walk

Penticton pilots new mobile parking payment app

Eliminating the need to carry change for parking meters

Most Read