Rockets take young centre in CHL import draft

Swiss centre attracts club with his age and skill and will join Henrik Nyberg as Rockets' two Europeans

The Kelowna Rockets selected a young Swiss centre with its only pick in the CHL’s annual import draft, held on Wednesday.

Picking 59th out of the 60 teams in the draft, Kelowna opted for youth, selecting 17-year-old Kris Schmidli, a 5-foot-10 centre who played junior as well as International games in Switzerland last season.

Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton said the team could have taken an older player but with the roster situation, going with a 17-year-old was the right move.

“There were some 1994 (birth year) players that we could have taken but we decided on a younger player,” said Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton. “He fits in an age group where we needed players.”

Schmidli played in Zurich last season at the elite junior A level, scoring five goals and five assists in 27 games. He also played 13 International games with the Swiss U-17 team, scoring once and adding a  pair of helpers.

The Rockets only made one of their possible two selections at the draft as Swedish import Henrik Nyberg is coming back for his second WHL season.

Kelowna Capital News