Rookie Kole Lind was the Rockets' fourth round choice in the 2013 WHL bantam draft.

Rookie Lind progressing with Rockets

The top goal scorer in midget AAA hockey this season in Saskatchewan, forward Kole Lind is earning quality minutes in WHL playoffs

One of the top midget players in Saskatchewan this season, the Kelowna Rockets were hoping Kole Lind’s transition to the major junior game would be a relatively smooth one.

So far, so good for the 6-foot-2, 175-pound forward who logged his share of ice time and didn’t look at all out of place alongside Cole Linaker and Chance Braid during the first two games of the WHL playoffs against the Tri-City Americans.

“We liked him in Games 1 and 2, he was on the body, he was skating and making plays… he was pretty effective,” said Rockets head coach Dan Lambert. “He’s a very intelligent hockey player and has a knack for knowing where to be on the ice.”

Lind is coming off a stellar 2014-15 season with the Saskatoon Contacts where he led Saskatchewan’s midget AAA league with 45 goals and was second overall in points with 79.

While the Shaunavon, Sask. native theoretically had the skill and work ethic to spend the entire season with the Rockets, the WHL club felt it more advantageous for his development to get him plenty of ice time back in Saskatoon.

Lind made the most of the opportunity.

“It was fine going back to Saskatoon, it’s a great program so I was still able to learn there, come back here and be ready to play when they needed me,” said Lind, who the Rockets picked up in the fourth round of the 2013 WHL bantam draft.

“I can’t complain, coming out of midget and getting a chance to play with one of the best organizations in hockey,” he added. “I can’t ask for much more, so I’ve been fortunate.”

Based on what Kelowna saw from Lind at training camp last fall and with the Contacts this past season, Lambert said it seemed only a matter of time before the young forward would forge his way into the Rockets lineup.

“He benefitted from going back to midget and had a real good season in triple-A,” said Lambert. “When we looked at his game and how he competed, how he got in on the forecheck, and his ability to score, we liked what we saw. We injected him into our lineup and he’s done very well.”

Lind got his feet wet with the Rockets during the regular season, playing in six games.

Four of those came after his Contacts were eliminated from the Saskatchewan midget AAA playoffs in mid-March.

Despite the short time frame, Lind believes he’s already benefitting by watching some of the league’s top players ply their trade.

“I’m learning skills from guys like (Rourke) Chartier and (Nick) Merkley, they do some special things out there,” Lind said, “so it’s been pretty nice for me to watch them and pick some things up.”

Along with Dillon Dube, Lind was the only other 16-year-old player on the roster to suit up with the Rockets for the start of the playoffs.

While he admits playing with one of the CHL’s top teams in the post-season can be a bit of a pressure cooker, Lind is doing his utmost to focus, enjoy and simply play his game.

“It’s pretty exciting and kind of nerve wracking at the same time, but I still try and have some fun,” Lind said.

“You just have to lay it all out there and do your best. Not many 16-year-olds get to be in a situation like this with a team this good, so I’m trying to make the best if it.”

The Rockets and Americans meet Tuesday night in Kennewick, WA in Game 3 of their WHL first-round playoff series. Kelowna leads best-of-seven 2-0.

 

Just Posted

Let it snow in Kelowna

Snow is in the forecast for this week

Photos: Adventuring in Stuart Park

Have you seen Friday’s edition of the Capital News? Check out the photos featured

Rutland students help less fortunate

At Rutland Senior Secondary, students are helping the homeless this holiday season

Lake Country seniors receive Christmas surprise

Hampers will be given to 20 lucky seniors in need next week

Column: Make it a green Christmas

Instead of purchasing a cuddly stuffie this year, put your money towards helping the real thing.

What’s happening

Find out about the events happening in your community this weekend

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Lind nets three in Rockets win; Dube and Foote named to Canada’s roster

Kole Lind returns from national junior camp to lead Rockets to victory in P.A.

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Annual Christmas meal held as Kelowna Gospel Mission

The meal will be held tomorrow from 12 to 6 p.m.

Most Read