Third-year centre Tyson Baillie will be a key contributor at both ends of the ice for the Kelowna Rockets this season.

Tyson Baillie a reliable commodity for Rockets

Kelowna centre looks to build on 26-goal season with Western Hockey League club

Tyson Baillie is living proof that youth and experience can indeed come in the same package.

Ten weeks shy of his 18th birthday, the 5-foot-10 centre is still relatively young by Western Hockey League standards. But with two full seasons of major junior savvy already under his belt, Baillie has evolved into a reliable commodity for the Kelowna Rockets.

After connecting for 26 goals and 56 points during a solid 2012-13 regular season, Baillie lifted his game another notch during last spring’s post-season.

Without injured captain Colton Sissons in the lineup, he stepped to the fore for the Rockets with a team-leading eight goals and 14 points in nine games.

Baillie plans to pick up where he left off last season.

“I want to be a go-to guy for our team this year,” said Baillie. “When Siss went down for the playoffs, I had to step up my game and I thought I showed I could do that. I want to be a leader, too…I’ve been here two years now, so I feel like I’m part of the leadership core of our team.”

While Baillie’s skill and hockey smarts have been vital to his success, head coach Ryan Huska says the young centre’s biggest asset my be his pure passion for the game.

After sitting out several games last season as a healthy scratch, it became clear Baillie was willing to do whatever it took to get back on the ice.

“He loves the game, he’s always working hard, and his passion and enthusiasm rubs off on the other guys,” said Huska. “So last year, when he was a healthy scratch it was really tough on him. He changed his style, became a far better two-way player and turned into a guy we could trust and rely on. The adversity was the best thing that happened to him and he’s been in the lineup ever since.”

While the Rockets will need offensive production from Baillie this season, Huska said the club won’t be putting undue pressure on him or any one player because, like last year, the club’s success will hinge on more of a scoring-by-committee approach.

And that’s just fine with Baillie who believes—based on the club’s depth, experience and last spring’s playoff disappointment—the Rockets have the necessary tools to take a run at a championship next spring.

“I think we can win it all this year,” Baillie said. “We have a lot of returning guys and guys that want to improve and do better than last year. A lot of guys are disappointed about the playoffs last year and I think we have a really good team here that can go all the way.”

Rocket Shots…Nine Rockets are headed for NHL training camps this week, including captain Colton Sissons (Nashville), Damon Severson (New Jersey), Tyrell Goulbourne (Philadelphia), Madison Bowey (Washington) and Myles Bell (New Jersey)…The Rockets close out their WHL pre-season this weekend with two games—Friday in Vancouver against the Giants, then Saturday at home to the Kamloops Blazers.


Just Posted

Kelowna mayoral candidate’s sign set aflame

Bobby Kennedy’s sign was set on fire on Saturday morning

TEDxKelowna looks to inspire Kelowna

The event will showcase ideas that transcend sectors and generations

Long awaited second power line in West Kelowna postponed

The power line was set to be completed in 2020 and will now be installed in 2025

Cops for Kids cyclists return home

After cycling 1,000 kilometres they have completed their 10 day journey

Sunshine ahead for Kelowna

Your weekly forecast shows that the sun will shine again on Tuesday

Meet the Chef: Kai Koroll, executive chef at Block One restaurant

Koroll honours the terroir of the Okanagan in every dish he serves

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Trans Canada now open west of Chase, ‘heavy delays’

Few details available about crash that closed Trans Canada Highway west of Chase Sunday, Sept. 23

Oliver to get new sheriff from graduating class

Oliver will be one of a number of B.C. communities to get a member of the recent graduating class

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Family, friends of B.C murder victim want killer sent back to max security facility

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

Most Read