Tyson Baillie and the Kelowna Rockets will host the Prince George Cougars Thursday night.

Rockets ‘more receptive’ than a year ago

More veteran group tuned into coaching staff, team philosophy

Ten games into the 2012-13 Western Hockey League campaign, the Kelowna Rockets have precisely the same record (4-5-1) as a year ago.

But as the coaches and returning players are all likely to tell you, there’s a dramatically different feeling inside and outside the club’s dressing room this season.

An older, more unified group than in 2011-12, the Rockets don’t expect to be playing sub-.500 hockey for too long.

“I think this group is a lot more receptive to what we’re trying to do as a team,” said head coach Ryan Huska. “They understand our expectations much better and, with the exception of a few bad penalties, we could have a few more points than we do.

“Our goal is to challenge to be one of the better teams in this league,” he added, “and when we have a healthy group, this room feels like we’re capable of winning a lot of hockey games.

“Our older guys have done a good job of setting an example and this is more like a family than we’ve had in some time.”

After playing seven of their first 10 games on the road, the Rockets are home for a pair of games this week—Thursday night against Prince George and Saturday against the Brandon Wheat Kings.

“We have 11 of our first 16 on the road, so it’s important to take advantage of these home games, improve on the way we played on the road and play with the right energy,” Huska said.

One challenge the Rockets will be facing, at least in the short-term, is a depth shortage up front.

Centre Ryan Olsen is sitting out a three-game suspension as the result of a checking to the head major Saturday in Victoria, while fellow forwards Zach Franko (day-to-day), Carter Rigby (three weeks) and J.T. Barnett (two weeks) are all sidelined with injuries.

To help fill the void, 16-year-old defenceman Riley Stadel will move up and play forward for the next couple of games.

 

Just Posted

Okanagan Wildfires: An afternoon update on wildfires and evacuations

A Sunday afternoon look at the major wildfires impacting the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Mediation talks break off in casino strike

Gateway and BCGEU have no new date set for mediation

Motorcyclist taken to hospital following crash near Vernon

Extent of injuries not yet known following motorcycle in ditch on Commonage Road Sunday, July 22

All-Indigenous teams break new ground, making BC Games history

This is the first time there have been dedicated Indigenous teams at the BC Summer Games

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

ZONE 2: Okanagan twins bring ultimate competition to the BC Games

Brothers Connor and Holden Berrisford are each other’s main motivators

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

B.C. VIEWS: Unions regain control of public construction

B.C.’s 40-year battle swings back to international big labour

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Most Read