Forward Cole Linaker has played 300 career games

‘Incredible’ experience for Linaker winds down

Kelowna Rockets forward coming to end of memorable four seasons with WHL team.

Some time in the next several weeks, Cole Linaker will play his last game in a Kelowna Rockets’ uniform.

Not surprisingly, the 20-year-old graduating forward would like to extend that moment into late May in Red Deer at the 2016 Memorial Cup.

Still, wherever and whenever the Edmonton native’s WHL career officially ends, Linaker said there was no better place to have spent the four most formative years of his life.

“My time with the Rockets, it’s been incredible,” said Linaker, who is joined by Tyson Baillie and Jackson Whistle as the team’s overage grads. “Personally, I’ve grown a lot as a person, and it’s true what they say, you come here as a boy and leave as a man.

“I was never on winning teams growing up, then I came here. As part of the Rockets, winning is a tradition and it’s excepted, and you learn quickly not to enjoy losing,” he added. “Just to be part of this organization for four years has been amazing.”

A sixth-round draft pick of the Rockets in 2010, Linaker lost most of his last bantam season due to a knee injury.

But the 6-foot-2, 185-pound forward persevered and would eventually develop into one of the Rockets’ most reliable two-way players.

As a testament to his play, Linaker has been named the WHL club’s top defensive forward in each of the last two seasons.

And according to assistant GM Lorne Frey, Linaker brings much more to the Rockets than just being responsible in his own zone.

“He’s turned out to be quite an asset for us,” Frey said of Linaker, who had 50 points during the 2015-16 regular season. “He’s tremendous in the dressing room, he has the respect of the other players, and he’s turned into one of our better defensive forwards.

“He’s intelligent, he takes pride in working hard and just plays a solid 200-foot game.”

For his part, Linaker will always value his time in a Rockets uniform but isn’t prepared to close the book on his career just yet.

“I’ve reflected quite a bit, especially in the last few weeks, how great it’s been,” he said. “Then again, you try not to look back too much, we’re going keep pushing forward and try take a run at this again.

“I believe in our group and I’m excited to see what we can do.”

Linaker and the Rockets are in Kamloops tonight to take on the Blazers in Game 4 of the WHL first-round playoff series.

 

Just Posted

Former Rockets vying for place in NHL

Twarynski and Dube are turning heads during NHL preseason

Organic Okanagan Festival returns for a 13th year

The annual event will be hosted at Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Traffic ahead for commuters driving into Kelowna

A car accident has left one lane open for Northbound drivers

Rockets prepare for three-game series against Prince George

The Kelowna Rockets will be looking to Kyle Topping during the series

Okanagan rugby community raises funds for cancer services

The first ever fundraiser held on Sunday raised $14,000

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

Okanagan College student population climbs

Enrolment up nearly 14 per cent

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

Coldstream supports Okanagan College Campus residence project

Project would see a 100-bed residence on the Vernon campus in Coldstream

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Okanagan show supports youth mental health, suicide prevention

Robb Nash will be performing Oct. 2 and 3 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre

Most Read