Goaltender Cole Demers is one of three returnees on this year's Okanagan Rockets.

Okanagan Rockets launch season vs defending champs

Kelowna's major midget team home to Northeast Chiefs to kick off BCMML campaign

The intensity level should be high this weekend as the last two B.C. Major Midget League champs kick off the new campaign in Kelowna.

The 2013-14 winners, the Okanagan Rockets, will battle the defending champion Northeast Chiefs in a two-game set at the Capital News Centre.

“Having the last two champs going head-to-head to start the season will be exciting,” said Okanagan Rockets’ GM Braeden Pistawka. “It’ll be a good test for us.”

As is most often the case in major midget hockey, the Rockets have had considerable turnover from last year’s team.

Coached this season by newly-hired Jason Williamson, Okanagan will have three returnees on its 20-player roster—forwards Zach Ehrhardt, Ben Dietrich-Scammell and goaltender Cole Demers.

Among the large crop of newcomers is defenceman Shawn Guison, a member of the Kelowna midget tier 1 provincial champions of the previous two seasons.

The Rockets tuned up for the season by hosting an icebreaker tournament and Pistawka liked a lot of what he saw.

“We’re going to have speed and skill,” said Pistawka, “but I also like our work ethic. Last weekend, the guys played with grit and jam, so that was good to see.

“I’m pretty optimistic about the season.”

In Williamson, the Rockets will have a coach with plenty of junior-level experience, including winning two RBC Cups with the Vernon Vipers as an assistant in 2009 and 2010.

He also spent four seasons as the Vipers’ head coach and GM.

“For him, the step from junior hockey to midget will be a fresh start,” Pistawka said of Williamson. “He comes in without any biases about the league or the players, so he can come in with an open mind. He has been to some RBC Cups, so has experience. I think he will be a valuable asset for us.”

This weekend’s games at CNC between the Rockets and Chiefs go at 3 p.m. Saturday and at 10 a.m. Sunday.


Just Posted

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Kelowna - Students were unaware of resources on campus

Interior Health managers voice discontent

Negative comments about work culture aimed at CEO Chris Mazurkewich.

Video: Bulky bobcat goes for a stroll

Bob Lindley shared a video of a sneaky bobcat strolling through his yard in Vernon.

Cops report explosion in number of thefts from vehicles in Central Okanagan

In just the first 2 1/2 weeks of 2018, the number has nearly tripled in Kelowna and West Kelowna

Kelowna and West Kelowna’s unsolved crimes of the week

RCMP are searching for a fraud suspect and vandal suspect in this week’s unsolved crimes

Kelowna’s Ursel to coach host team at Olympics

Bob Ursel is headed to the Olympics with South Korea’s national men’s curling team

EDITORIAL: With harassment allegations, students deserve better at UBCO

The lack of communication with students isn’t good enough for the Kelowna campus

Physical altercation turns to online threats in Celista

Police were called to a Shuswap ice rink after a group of men physically fought each other

Arson suspect heads to court

Vernon man suspected of starting a string of 2014 fires in Vernon

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Former B.C. fire chief gets seven months for possession of child porn

The 63-year-old pleaded guilty during a brief hearing last year to one count

B.C. VIEWS: Public school ‘crisis’ doesn’t exist

More teachers pour in, union wants results suppressed

Most Read