Kelowna Rockets had the most players selected out of all Canadian Hockey League teams at last weekend’s NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver.
Four Rockets were picked in the first two rounds of the draft, and Kelowna was the only CHL team to have two of those players chosen in the first round.
Lassi Thomson was selected 19th overall by the Ottawa Senators and Nolan Foote was picked 27th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning, both joining a select group of 10 former Rockets first round picks.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Thomson. “(Ottawa’s) an old team and a big hockey town, I think there is a lot of fans, and everyone is watching hockey games.”
Foote was ranked the 37th top prospect going into the draft, but was selected by a familiar team near the end of the first round.
The Lightning had taken Foote’s brother and former Rockets’ teammate Cal Foote in the first round of the 2017 draft.
The reigning Rockets’ MVP was ecstatic to join his brother. “I couldn’t believe it,” said Foote. “Cal and I sharing that moment together was awesome.”
Kaedan Korczak (41st by Vegas) and Dillon Hamaliuk (55th by San Jose) rounded out the Kelowna picks in the second round.
Players from the WHL led the way at the draft with 28 skaters picked in the first two rounds.
There have now bee 56 Rockets drafted into the NHL since 1996.
Newly acquired Rockets defenceman Jake Lee was picked up as a free agent by San Jose after the draft.
With the draft completed, the Rockets will now look to the upcoming season and hosting the Memorial Cup next May.
The four drafted Rockets along with Lee will attend their respective NHL teams’ development camps over the summer and training camp in the fall, with all expected to be returned to junior as the Rockets prepare for the 2019-20 season and hosting the Memorial Cup tournament next May.
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