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 DJs organize own shows to fill gap in music scene

The DJs wanted to create somewhere people could enjoy their music safely

Rediscover Rutland: There’s never a dull moment in the neighbourhood

Laurel D’Andrea, with URBA, is sharing a few upcoming events

Kelowna budget carryovers won’t add to taxation demand

Council’s carryover budget requests will advance work for the city

Warm temperatures here to stay in Kelowna

Spring has finally sprung in the Central Okanagan

Kelowna welcomes building permit applications for “earth homes”

Kelowna welcomes carriage and container “earth homes” when mandatory inspections are completed

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

In Photos: Classic snowmobiles pushed to their limits in fun races

The Burner in Malakwa served as the venue for races show cases older sleds

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Okanagan organization helps provide water for all in Nepal

Presentation shares success of project at Okanagan Science Centre March 27

Most Read