As the Kelowna Rockets 2013 rookie training camp draws to a close this weekend, several young prospects are preparing to skate with Rockets veterans at the team’s main camp, while others will head back to their respective home towns.
Close to 180 prospects will be back at Prospera Place in Kelowna on Sunday morning to skate in their final game and to meet with Rockets scouting staff before the team’s 2013 rookie camp closes. Kelowna veterans are in the city already preparing for main camp which begins on Monday.
“We’ve been pleased with the rookie camp both with the effort from the players and the turnout,” said Lorne Frey, the Rockets director of player personnel. “The scrimmages have been getting better and the kids are all working hard.”
Rockets scouting staff will provide feedback to the players before camp closes with the main message being keep on playing and working hard.
“One thing we stress is that if you love the game and you love playing, just continue to do it because you never know what can happen,” he said, adding they use former Rockets and now NHL players Josh Gorges, Shea Weber and Duncan Keith as good examples. “They are all high-end NHLers that were never drafted in the Western Hockey League. We tell these players that it’s just a matter of developing and staying at it.”
Among the players that will be invited to main camp are players that were drafted by the Rockets at the 2013 WHL bantam draft including first round pick Dillon Dube, who has had a good camp, along with the rest of the draft picks.
“(Dube) has been what we expected: He’s a tremendous skater, his compete level is really good. He’s an exciting player and he can certainly play at top speed,” said Frey, adding the team is happy with the entire draft class.
“Overall we’re pleased with everybody. They have come in here and played basically to what we expected. They are all just 15, or turning 15 this year so they have several years before they get to us but overall they skate well and have good skill.”
The Rockets open its main training camp on Monday morning as players will be put through fitness testing. On ice sessions at the main camp begin on Tuesday and continue through Thursday when camp breaks. The Rockets play host to Kamloops on Friday Aug. 30 and also host Vancouver Sept. 7 as part of a four game exhibition schedule.
Tickets are on sale at Select Your Tickets and $2 from each ticket sold in the Rockets exhibition season goes to Cops for Kids.
The Rockets WHL home opener is Sept. 21 vs. Vancouver.