After a below .500 season and a first-round playoff exit, the Kelowna Rockets retooled at the WHL Prospects draft on Thursday, May 11.
Going into the draft, the Rockets didn’t have a first-round selection but selected 10 new members to the team, while passing on three picks.
Welcome the newest members of the Kelowna Rockets:
- No 1st round selection
- C Eli Barrett - 2nd round, 26th overall - St. George’s School U15 Prep - Surrey, B.C.
- RW Kanjyu Gojsic - 3rd round, 48th overall - St. George’s School U15 Prep - Langley, B.C.
- RD Jacob Henderson - 3rd round, 50th overall - Yale Hockey Academy U15 Prep - Burnaby, B.C.
- C Owen Folstrom - 4th round, 76th overall - Calgary NWCAA U15 AAA Flames - Calgary, AB
- RD Dallin Antos - 5th round, 91st overall - Red Deer Rebels U15 AAA - Red Deer, AB
- LW Gabriel O’Brien - 6th round, 116th overall - Edmonton KC U15 AAA Squires - Edmonton, AB
- LD Ben MacBeath - 7th round, 136th overall - Yale Hockey Academy U15 Prep - Calgary, AB
- LD Sullivan Fogolin - 7th round, 145th overall - St. Albert U15 AAA Sabres - St. Albert, AB
- No 8th round selection
- LW Boston Schmidt - 9th round, 180th overall - Prairie Storm U15 AA, Pilot Butte, Sask
- LW Nolan Beddow - 10th round, 202nd overall - Shattuck-St. Mary’s Sabres 14U - Parker, CO
- Round 11 - pass
- Round 12 - pass
- Round 13 - pass
“We’re excited to add another group of young talented players to our prospect pool,” said Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton. “Our head scout Terry McFaul, assistant general manager Curtis Hamilton and our team of scouts did a fantastic job of identifying players for our program. Terry himself scouted over 600 games this season.”
On Wednesday, May 10, the Rockets also added two new players from the WHL’s U.S. Priority draft:
- RW Kalder Varga - 1st round, 7th overall - Chicago Mission 14U - Chicago, IL
- G Oliver Kanat - 2nd round, 26th overall - Los Angeles Jr. Kings 14U - Newport Beach, CA
Between the 12 new members of the Rockets, there are two centres, three left wingers, two right wingers, four defenceman, and a goaltender.
“The draft went really well, a little better than what we thought it would,” said McFaul. “We got very lucky with some of the kids that we got, some that we missed out on, but we scored big where we had to. Our scouts worked hard and it was a team effort, it went very well.”
The Rockets weren’t done after the draft as they made their first trade of the offseason on Friday morning. The team announced they traded forward Turner McMillian to the Red Deer Rebels for a third round draft pick in 2024. In 192 WHL games, all with the Rockets, McMillian potted 13 goals and added 47 assists with a +8 rating and 119 penalty minutes. He was Kelowna’s second round pick, 40th overall in the 2018 WHL Prospects draft.