The Kelowna Rockets celebrated the organization's fourth WHL title in the spring of 2015.

Year in Review: Rockets rule WHL

Kelowna wins fourth league title, falls one goal short at Memorial Cup

One of major junior hockey’s most successful franchises of the last decade, the Kelowna Rockets were back on top in 2015.

With a deep corps of returning veterans and acquisitions of players like Leon Draisaitl and Josh Morrissey, the Rockets were virtually unstoppable on their way to winning the Western Hockey League title.

The Rockets went 16-3 in the playoffs en route to claiming the Ed Chynoweth Cup, sweeping the Brandon Wheat Kings in four straight games in the final.

The clincher came on home ice as Kelowna won its fourth WHL title in the last 12 years and first since 2009.

“You don’t forget these,” Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton said of his team’s fourth league championship.

“It’s a great feeling and I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”

As well as the WHL season ended, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Rockets, who

had to search for chemistry after making a number of significant trades.

“Our team has come a long way from probably February when we hit a few bumps along the road,” said Rockets head coach Dan Lambert. “We weren’t sure if this was all going to come together, it took a little time but the key thing is that the players in the room believed, and that was the difference.”

The Rockets advanced to the team’s fifth Memorial Cup, but fell just one goal short of a perfect season.

The Oshawa Generals defeated the Rockets 2-1 in overtime in the championship final in Quebec City.

“It was a helluva year for us,” said  Rockets captain Madison Bowey. “I’m proud of the guys, we battled hard right to the end. It’s just tough to go out like that.”

Draisiatl was named the Memorial Cup MVP.

Following the season, Lambert stepped down as the team’s head coach to accept a position with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.

The Rockets hired Brad Ralph as Lambert’s replacement in August.

Early in the year, three members of the club had a hand in Canada’s gold medal win at the world junior hockey championship in Montreal and Toronto.

Defencemen Madison Bowey and Josh Morrissey played on the Canadian squad, while GM Bruce Hamilton was a member of the management team.

 

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