Kaeden Korczak was the Rockets’ first round pick in the 2016 bantam draft.                                -Image: Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze

Kaeden Korczak was the Rockets’ first round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. -Image: Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze

Prairie homecoming for Rockets rookie

The 16-year-old defenceman, who grew up in Yorkton, Sask., excited to be touring Eastern Division with Kelowna

Trips across the Canadian prairie in winter are nothing new to Kaeden Korczak.

But this month, for the first time, the 16-year-old rookie defenceman from Saskatchewan is seeing his home province through the windows of a Western Hockey League bus.

Korczak and the Kelowna Rockets are in the midst of a six-game tour of Eastern Division cities, the club’s final action prior to the Christmas break.

“It’s been super cool,” said Korczak, who was born and raised in Yorkton, Sask. “I’ve had a lot of family and friends come out and see me. Knowing people are there to support you is a good feeling.

“It’s been fun, nice to be back.”

Korczak, the Rockets’ first round pick, 11th overall, played all of his minor hockey in Yorkton, including the 2016-17 season with the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League’s Maulers.

Despite playing in arenas all across Saskatchewan during his minor hockey days, Korczak is seeing the inside of several WHL buildings for the first time, another perk of his first full season in major junior.

“I didn’t play in a lot of these rinks growing up, so it’s cool to be kind of living a dream and playing in them now,” he said. “I’d never played in the Brandt Centre (Regina) until this trip, so that was nice.”

Korczak got his feet wet as a 15-year-old last season, playing in four regular season games with the Rockets and five more in the playoffs.

This season, the young blueliner, who logs between 13 and 18 minutes of ice time per night, and has eight assists in 25 games.

With captain Cal Foote’s absence from the Kelowna lineup, Korczak will be helping carry even more of the load over the last four games of the trip.

Foote and Rockets’ teammates Dillon Dube and Kole Lind are in St. Catharines this week for Hockey Canada’s national junior selection camp.

Korczak and the Rockets will be in Moose Jaw tonight to take on the Warriors, the will visit Swift Current Wednesday in the fourth game of their prairie trip.

Kelowna closes out its prairie trip with a stop Friday in Prince Albert and Saturday in Saskatoon to play the Blades.

The Rockets’ next home action is Wednesday, Dec. 27 against the Kamloops Blazers.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@capnewsports

whenderson@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

The administrative headquarters for the Central Okanagan Public Schools. (File photo)
COVID-19 exposures confirmed at 2 Central Okanagan Schools

The infected individuals are self-isolating at home

Farming Karma is set to release a line of fruit vodka sodas soon. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna fruit growers expanding line of beverages

Farming Karma is expanding from fruit sodas to fruit vodka sodas

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Okanagan Mission Secondary volleyball coach Paul Thiessen cheering his team on during the high school AAA playoffs. (Contributed)
OKM volleyball coach a provincial award winner

Paul Thiessen receives BC School Sports Merit Award for 2021-22

Two e-scooters parked on the sidewalk along Water Street in downtown Kelowna on Monday, May 3. Scooters parked on walkways are causing accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Kelowna General Hospital clinicians observe increase in e-scooter injuries

A report is set to go to city council next week on how the e-scooter pilot has gone thus far

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Most Read