With his team back in Kelowna looking like a championship contender, returning to the Western Hockey League for his final junior campaign didn’t feel like all that big of a sacrifice for Tyrell Goulbourne.
The 20-year-old forward and Philadelphia prospect had an opportunity to sign a pro contract and play this season with the Flyers’ American Hockey League affiliate in Allentown, Penn.
But because an injury prevented him from taking part in Flyers’ training camp—coupled with the prospects of playing another year for one of junior hockey’s most successful franchises—Goulbourne and his agent, Shayne Corson, agreed another tour of duty in Kelowna was the best course of action.
“The (Flyers) wanted me to stay in the AHL, but my agent thought it was best for me to come back here and continue to develop my game,” said Goulbourne, a third-round draft pick of the Flyers in 2013. “Obviously playing pro is the goal, but I look at this not as punishment but a chance to win with a great organization. I’m excited to be back.
“I have a lot of things to improve on before I become a good pro, and this is a great place to work on those.”
While in Philadelphia, Goulbourne underwent surgery on his elbow and didn’t suit up for any of Flyers’ training camp. However, with the stitches due to be taken out this week, it won’t be long before the Edmonton native is back in the Rockets’ lineup.
Goulbourne’s return means the Rockets now have four over-age players on the roster—the other three are Cole Martin, Carter Rigby and Colton Heffley.
With just three spots available for 20-year-old players per WHL team, one Rocket must go by the league-mandated deadline of Oct. 15.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen there and I can’t control it,” said Goulbourne, who had 37 points and 114 penalty minutes with the Rockets last season. “If I happened to be moved, then I’m prepared to continue to work on my game and improve, wherever I go.”
If Goulbourne does remain in Kelowna for the duration of the season and brings his best game, head coach Dan Lambert said his aggressive style and energy can be a big asset to the hockey club.
“Obviously he can be a very important piece of our puzzle if he’s skating and finishing his hits,” Lambert said. “The biggest thing with Tyrell is his consistency and if he can bring that, he can be a feared player for us.”
Bowey player of week…
Rockets’ captain Madison Bowey is the WHL’s player of the week. The Winnipeg native scored two goals, added six assists and posted a +7 rating as the Rockets won all three games. The 19-year-old blue liner’s week included a five-point effort, including two goals, in a 7-5 win over the Vancouver Giants on Wednesday in Kelowna.
Lambert and Dube to U17s…
Rockets forward Dillon Dube has been named to Canada’s Team White for the World U17 Challenge, Nov. 2 to 8 in Sarnia, Ont.
Rockets head coach Dan Lambert will serve as the bench boss for Team Red.
The 2014 event will be the feature three Canadian national teams – Black, Red and White. From 1986 to 2014, Canada was represented by five regional teams: Atlantic, Ontario, Pacific, Quebec and West.