Kelowna’s Kyle Topping warms up on the ice against the Vancouver Giants at Prospera Place on January 26. (Photo: Marissa Baecker/Kelowna Rockets Images)

‘I’ll always call Kelowna a second home’: Rockets veteran looks back on junior career

It was a heartbreaking end for Kyle Topping, but it doesn’t take away from the four special years

Just like that; it was all over.

As the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) made the call to cancel the remainder of the season and playoffs on March 23, Kyle Topping’s four-year career with the Kelowna Rockets came to an end.

With professional sports events being delayed and cancelled around the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the end of the season hit a little harder for the Rockets who were set to host the 2020 Memorial Cup in May.

“We knew it was a possibility, our group was hoping for a miracle that things would turn around,” said Topping.

“But it’s understandable and it’s what they needed to do to keep the league safe. That was one of the tougher weeks (in my career), and I feel for our whole group. It’s definitely pretty heartbreaking and not the way I wanted to go out.”

By hosting the Memorial Cup, the Rockets were guaranteed a spot in the CHL championships, a prize they haven’t won since 2004 and haven’t competed for since 2015.

For Topping, one of three 20-year-olds on the Rockets whose four years in the league means an end to his WHL career, the Memorial Cup was meant to be a special end to his time in Kelowna.

Though the coronavirus may have taken away a shot at that special end, nothing can take away the four years of fond memories Topping has with only WHL team he’s ever played for.

“To stay in the same spot in my junior career is pretty special,” said Topping.

“The Rockets are a first-class organization. Each of my four years were a little different. The first was special because you’re new to everything, my second year was a bigger year and a bigger role. I was hoping for a big final year, but it is what it is.”

“Looking back, it was an awesome ride and I’ll always call Kelowna a second home.”

In his 226 games with the Rockets, Topping had 196 points and averaged almost a point per game in the last three seasons while playing in a leadership role as an alternative captain. His gritty, two-way and consistent game allowed him to slide into any line and any role that Kelowna needed.

His energy and tenacity meant that if the team needed a goal, a hit, a fight or a big play, Topping was often there to oblige for his team and the Kelowna fans.

While sports and close to everything else has been put on pause during the pandemic, there’s a lot of uncertainty with where Topping’s hockey career will next take him.

For now, it’s relaxing in his hometown on Salt Spring Island and seeing where things will be at the end of the pandemic. And through it all, it’s the little things he said he’ll miss most.

“That everyday life in Kelowna, coming to the rink every day, seeing the guys and just playing for the Rockets. It was pretty special.”

To report a typo, email:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Kelowna Rockets

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

City Park, Oct. 23. Image: Lynn Morran
Snow forces tunnel closure under W.R. Bennett Bridge

Branches from trees are breaking and falling across City Park

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

Smithson Employment Law Corporation donated $10,000 to support Habitat for Humanity Okanagan's Lake Country build. (Habitat for Humanity Okanagan)
Habitat for Humanity Okanagan receives $10,000 donation

Smithson Employment Law Corporation donated to the charity

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read