When Spencer Main sees some of his former teammates thriving at the NHL level, it’s just another reminder of the history and longevity the 19-year-old centre has enjoyed as a member of the Kelowna Rockets.
Now in his fourth Western Hockey League season, the North Vancouver product has seen a lot of players come and go on his way to becoming the Rockets’ active leader in games played.
Early in his career, Main suited up for many of those games with the likes of current big-leaguers Tyler Myers, Jamie Benn and Brandon McMillan.
“Time goes by fast, and to see those guys up there now doing so well is pretty special,” said Main. “To come back here and see them at the rink before the season, talk to them and see how they’re doing is pretty cool.
“I think the funniest thing is when you’re in a hockey pool with your buddies, and those guy’s names all pop up,” Main added. “Your buddies all know you played with them, so it’s fun. It’s something you never forget.”
While Main takes a keen interest in the progress of his former teammates in the pros, the 5-foot-11, 188-pound forward has quietly etched out a certain legacy of his own with the Rockets.
If all goes as planned over the next couple of weeks, Main will play in his 200th career regular season game in the WHL when Kelowna visits Kamloops on Oct. 29.
For a guy who needed 53 games to score his first goal as a 16-year-old late in the 2008-09 season, Main has no complaints with the way his career has unfolded since.
“I’m proud of that number (200 games),” Main said who has played in 194 regular season WHL games and 34 more in the playoffs. “I think it means I’ve been playing well enough to be in the lineup most days, and to do it with the a same team for that long, I’m pretty happy about that. When I look back, it’s been good run for me in Kelowna.”
In his fourth season in the WHL, Main is off to the best offensive start of his career in 2011-12 with four goals and three assists in the first nine games.
Still, the Rockets believe Main is most effective when he plays his characteristic two-way game. Combined with the leadership he offers as a 19-year-old veteran—and currently one of three assistant captains—the coaching staff views Main as a key figure in the club’s success this season.
“Leadership is the big thing we want Spencer to bring,” said Huska. “He was one of the guys who was at the Memorial Cup with us back in 2009, he’s 19 now and has that experience to pass on.
“We expect him to be reliable, to be very good at both ends of the ice. He’s playing in all situations, he’s getting some power play time and he’s been very good for us.”
For Main’s part, he’s more than happy to be taking on the added responsibility and, on most nights, is seeing at least 20 minutes of ice time—often playing against the opposing team’s top lines.
And while the Rockets’ recent six-game losing streak hasn’t been particularly enjoyable, the veteran centre is confident a reversal of fortunes will be only be a matter of time.
“Obviously I would have liked a few more wins but I think our team has been playing the right way the last few games,” added Main. “Unfortunately we haven’t got the results, but I think if we continue to play the same way, eventually we’ll it turnaround. I really like our team and the guys we have here, so the wins will come.”
Rocket Shots…The Rockets (3-5-1-0) will host the Vancouver Giants Thursday and the Victoria Royals Saturday at Prospera Place. Face-off both nights is 7 p.m. Kelowna will then visit the Giants on Sunday.