Ok Rockets tune up for season with Ice Breaker tourney

Last year's BCMML finalists, the Rockets host eight-team tournament in West Kelowna

The Okanagan Rockets head into the 2013-14 B.C. Major Midget League campaign with one clear goal in mind—to improve on last season’s second-place showing.

With new head coach Mack O’Rourke at the controls, the Rockets will begin that journey this weekend with their Icebreaker Tournament at Royal LePage Place and Jim Lind Arena.

The eight-team tourney, which begins Friday morning, features five teams from the Canadian Sports School League—Pursuit of Excellence, Okanagan Hockey Academy, Burnaby Winter Club, South Delta Academy, and Compete Academy from Idaho.

Rounding out the field are the host Rockets, Cariboo Cougars and the Kootenay Ice.

The Rockets enter the weekend with only a handful of decisions left as the roster is taking shape.

“We have a couple of decisions to make on defence, and one forward spot left to fill,” said Rockets GM David Michaud. “These games should give us the answers we are looking for.”

As it stands, the Rockets will look to return 7 to 10 players from last year’s club, including

two of the top four leading scorers, in captain Branden Wagner and Liam Finlay.

The club has added two top WHL prospects and former first-round draft picks in Tyson Jost (Everett) and Jake Kryski (Prince Albert.)

Two 17-year-old players have joined the team in Linden Hora (POE) and Kobe Oishi who won a provincial tier 1 title with the Kelowna midget Rockets last season.  Fellow Kelowna midget Tanner Campbell is also making the jump to major midget with the Okanagan club.

On defence, Gen Bryshun, who has returned from Powell River,  will help form the core of the defence along Tanner Browne (Brandon) and Mark Krabben (Calgary).

In goal, Reid Kilburn will be back after going 13-3-2 with a 2.34 GAA last season as a 16-year -old. Brendan Barry and Gio Sambrielaz will battle for the second position.

Overall, Michaud likes the prognosis for the 2013-14 season, rating this year’s club the most talent-laden yet.

“We will be an older club with as many as seven 17-year-old players at forward, two on defence, and one in goal,” said Michaud.

“I really feel losing to the Giants in last years BCMML final was the best thing that could have happened to us.  I’ve never been more motivated for a season to start, and I know our players feel the same way. The players who were with me last season are anxious to get started, and the new faces to our program know exactly what the goal going into this season is.

“Anything less than a provincial championship would be considered a disappointment with group we have been able to assemble,” he added. “That said, we know the rest of the BCMML isn’t going to roll over and give it to us.  We have seven months of very hard work in front of us.”

The Rockets will open the BCMML regular season at home Sept. 21 and 22 against the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds.

 

Just Posted

Kelowna social housing project revised

BC Housing tries to mitigate neighbouring concerns

Woodsdale road expected to be busy with opening of rail trail

The district will pursue grants to improve the road as walking traffic will increase

Trial for gangland slaying of Jonathan Bacon takes a turn

Charges for three men charged in the 2011 murder of B.C. gangster Jonathan Bacon have changed

Robot caretakers could be in your future

Interior Health CEO says AI will revolutionalize medical care

Kelowna walk sheds light on blood cancer darkness

The Light The Night Walk takes Saturday, April 21, from Waterfront Park

Video: RCMP investigation gets a deer little photobomb

Princeton RCMP were conducting a drug investigation in Princeton which a deer strolled through

Unions set for national strike against CP Rail

Locomotive engineers, conductors and signals specialists seeking new collective agreements.

B.C. woman known to hitchhike around province missing

Aislynn Hanson, 18, last seen April 13; known to travel throughout B.C. by hitchhiking

B.C. court relies on Facebook to track down missing defendant

A court in Princeton, B.C. relied on Facebook to track down a B.C. missing his court date

Cops corral pig on the loose

Police “put the grab” on pig before it can cross the highway on Vancouver Island

Accused in B.C. school stabbing found unfit to stand trial

Decision will put hold on upcoming trial for Gabriel Klein

Producer, DJ Avicii found dead at 28

Swedish-born artist Tim Bergling, was found in Muscat, Oman

Update: Gas jumps 30 cents in Vernon after pumps dipped to 109.9

UPDATE: Gas prices have since skyrocketed nearly 30 cents

Trudeau ends 3-country tour with global reputation, alliances intact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds footing on the world stage after China and India controversies

Most Read