Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze Returnee Brodan Salmond (left) and rookie James Porter will tend to the Kelowna Rockets’ goal this season.

Salmond, Porter to guard Rockets’ goal

Brodan Salmond will be backed up in the Kelowna net this season by rookie James Porter

Brodan Salmond and James Porter have a history.

After first meeting at a goaltending camp in Nelson six years ago, the two later reunited as members of the Edge School hockey program in Calgary.

Today, as the 2017-18 season begins, Salmond and Porter are back together again to shoulder the goaltending duties for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets.

“I’ve known James for quite awhile, it’s good to be playing with him,” said Salmond, 19. “It’s cool that we came from the same midget program. We get along well and I’d say it’s a healthy relationship where I think we’ll push each other.”

Salmond, who served as the backup to Michael Herringer last season, moves into the starting role for the Rockets.

His initiation to major junior hockey came unexpectedly late in the 2015-16 campaign when Rockets’ starter Jackson Whistle went down with a season-ending injury.

Salmond was summoned from Camrose of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and the rest, as they say, is history.

“It’s funny how hockey works sometimes, I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to get called up and then something like that happens,” said Salmond, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound native of Calgary. “Obviously I was excited to get the call and now here I am going into my third season. I’m looking forward to it.

“Learning from Michael (Herringer) and all the guidance I’ve had from Travis (Crickard) and Adam (Brown), I think has prepared me well.”

After playing in seven games his first season, Salmond’s workload increased to 23 games in 2016-17, posting a 12-7-2 record with 2.76 goals against average.

Based on his body of work to date and his work in the off-season Rockets’ goaltending coach Adam Brown said Salmond should be ready for prime time.

“Brodan got a lot of experience with us last year and had some success playing behind Michael Herringer, so that was important for him,” said Brown, who played four seasons in goal for Kelowna. “He worked really hard in the summer and came in ready to take over the starting job.

“Brodan plays with a lot of control in his game, he relies on positioning and playing the angles,” Brown said of Salmond’s goaltending approach. “You’re not going to see him making those diving saves, he just sticks to his game.”

Porter, 17, comes to the Rockets after three seasons with the Edge School program, including a stellar 2016-17 midget campaign where he posted a 1.79 goals against average in 16 games in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.

As a WHL rookie, Porter understands the learning curve may be steep but isn’t about to be deterred by the work ahead of him.

“I just want to be the best I can, work on the little things I need to and improve everyday,” said Porter, a native of Bonners Ferry, Idaho. “I have a lot of learning to do, I’m taking in all the advice I can from the vets and coaches.

“It’s been a goal of mine for a long time to play (in the WHL),” added the 5-foot-11, 160-pound Porter, a seventh-round bantam pick of the Rockets in 2015. “I’m happy the time is here now and it’s with Kelowna. It’s going to be a nice place to call home.”

Brown, for one, is looking forward to watching and aiding in Porter’s development.

“He’s a really good, young goaltender with a lot of raw talent,” Brown said. “There are a lot of things we’re going to be working on, it’s going to be a big adjustment like it is for any young goalie, so we’re going to be patient and develop those skills. James has lots of potential.”

The Rockets open the 2017-18 WHL regular season Friday, Sept. 22 at home to the Kamloops Blazers. Face off is 7 p.m. at Prospera Place.

SEE the 2017-18 Rockets Schedule HERE.

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