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Kelowna Rockets sign first rounder from U.S. Priority Draft

Kalder Varga isn’t eligible to play for the Rockets until the 2024-25 season
The Kelowna Rockets have signed their first round pick from the 2023 U.S. Priority Draft, Kalder Varga to his WHL Scholarship and Development Agreement. (Kelowna Rockets/Contributed)

The Kelowna Rockets have signed their top prospect.

Earlier this month in the WHL’s U.S. Priority Draft, the Rockets selected Kalder Varga in the first round (seventh overall) from the Chicago Mission U14 AAA team. On Wednesday, the Rockets signed Varga to his WHL Scholarship and Development Agreement. With Varga being just 15 years old, his parents also must sign the contract.

The WHL Scholarship and Development Agreement gives players the opportunity to develop on ice at the highest level, without taking away their academic goals. For each season played in the WHL, the player receives a one-year post-secondary scholarship that includes tuition, required fees, and textbooks.

“It’s an absolute honour to sign with a first-class organization like the Kelowna Rockets,” said Varga. “I can’t wait to begin working hard both on and off of the ice to become a Rocket. I look forward to visiting Kelowna this summer and calling it home in the near future.”

Hockey runs through the Varga family. Kalder is the son of former Tacoma Rocket, John Varga, who played all four seasons the team spent in Tacoma from 1991-1995. He collected 333 points (154 goals, 179 assists) and 387 penalty minutes in 254 games as a Rocket.

Kalder’s grandpa was a trainer for the Chicago Blackhawks for 39 years and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.

Varga will be attending Rockets training camp in August but because of his age, can’t make his Rockets debut until the 2024-25 season. Before attending Rockets camp, Varga will be playing for Central District and Illinois at the U.S. National camp in Rochester, New York.

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Jordy Cunningham

About the Author: Jordy Cunningham

Hailing from Ladner, B.C., I have been passionate about sports, especially baseball, since I was young. In 2018, I graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops with a Bachelor of Journalism degree
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