Rockets head coach Brad Ralph will finish the WHL season with pretty much the same team he started with.

Rockets hold firm as deadline passes

GM Bruce Hamilton stays out of trade market as Kelowna heads into stretch run of WHL season

Unlike last year’s fireworks which brought Leon Draisaitl and Josh Morrissey to town, the Western Hockey League’s trade deadline passed on Sunday with nary a flicker from the Kelowna Rockets.

Ideally, GM Bruce Hamilton would have liked to land an older, offensively-skilled defenceman to fortify the blue line, but the price for such a commodity was simply too high.

In the end Hamilton stood pat, leaving both he and head coach Brad Ralph satisfied with the assets the defending WHL champs already have in place.

“We’ve got a great hockey team here and we have from the start of the season,” said Ralph. “We haven’t had the whole group together very much, so it’ll be nice to get things settled and to be able to work more as a team. We like the team we have right now.”

Through injuries, illness, suspensions and absences due to the world junior hockey championship—123 man games lost—the Rockets have still managed to maintain their place atop the WHL standings with a 29-10-3-0 record.

Improving on a daily basis remains Ralph’s overriding philosophy.

“We didn’t practise much as a team in December with our scheduling and players missing, so now we’ll have more of a chance to focus on the details, clean up our game, and be diligent with our systems,” said Ralph. “There are always things we can improve on, so we’ll continue to work on playing the game the right way.”

Rockets goaltender Jackson Whistle remains sidelined (hips, two weeks), so Michael Herringer will carry the weight in the Kelowna net for the foreseeable future.

Kelowna Chiefs junior B netminder Brady Lenardon will serve as the backup for the time being.

Ralph said the Rockets have confidence in the 19-year-old Herringer, who has posted a 2-1-1-0 record since Whistle went down Dec. 30.

“Obviously it’s tough losing a player of Jackson’s calibre,” Ralph said, “but Michael Herringer has proven to be a capable starter. The way our scheduling sets up, we’ll be able to ride Michael for while, so we feel good about that.”

The Rockets also announced the assignment of Danny Gatenby to the B.C. Major Midget League’s Okanagan Rockets to give the 17-year-old defenceman more ice time.

Kelowna currently has seven blue liners on the roster, eight including the adaptable Riley Stadel.

The Rockets are on the road this weekend, as they take on the Victoria Royals on Saturday and Sunday at Save on Foods Memorial Centre.


Just Posted

Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps to 1,600 hectares overnight

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 1,600 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Record cherry crop anticipated

BC Tree Fruit growers expecting crop of 12 million pounds due to ideal conditions

City of Kelowna to consider council pay hike to offset loss of tax-free allowance

Move could see mayor get and $11,830 pay hike and councillors a $3,050 increase

Kelowna residents to honour the dead with walk of memories

The walk will honour each phase of life

Update: Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps from 60 to 800 hectares

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 800 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

Canucks sign top prospect Elias Pettersson to entry-level deal

Slick centre drafted No. 5 overall in 2017 NHL draft

Former B.C. police chief dies in ATV accident

Ex-Nelson top cop began his career in Vancouver

Hergott: A misunderstanding about our rights

Lawyer Paul Hergott writes about a recent small claims decision and the misunderstanding about our rights

Referendum in Ireland would repeal strict ban on abortion

Voters throughout Ireland have begun casting votes in a referendum that may lead to a loosening of the country’s strict ban on most abortions.

Lava from Hawaii volcano enters ocean from 3 flows

The Kilauea volcano has been gushing lava on the big island of Hawaii for the past three weeks.

Summit talk turns warmer; Trump says ‘talking to them now’

North Korea issued a statement saying it was still “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider talks

Harvey Weinstein turns himself in, arraigned on rape, criminal charges

Harvey Weinstein arraigned on rape, criminal sex act charges following allegations of sexual misconduct

Explosion at Mississauga restaurant sends 15 to hospital

Hunt underway for two suspects connected to Mississauga, Ont., blast

Most Read