Thursday, May 29, 2008

Comeau's Connection to Luc Bourdon

  • Former Kelowna Rockets forward Blake Comeau was a teammate of Luc Bourdon, who died Thursday after crashing his motorcycle in New Brunswick. Comeau and Bourdon won gold for Canada at the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championships.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Can The WHL Three-Peat?

  • I want to personally congratulate the Spokane Chiefs for winning the Memorial Cup. I applaud GM Tim Speltz for building a championship team through the bantam draft, and consummating some top end trades. The Chiefs showed all of Canada that the Western Hockey League is indeed a power house. Back-to-back Memorial Cup titles is pretty impressive. The Giants won it last year, the Chiefs hold the crown this season. Can the WHL three-peat in Rimouski next season?
  • Drayson Bowman sure answered the bell at the Memorial Cup. It's one thing to put up good numbers during the regular season, but the brother of Rockets defenseman Collin Bowman was rock solid in putting up big numbers in the playoffs and at the Memorial Cup tournament.
  • What I want to know is did Chiefs radio play-by-play man Mike Boyle take his shoes off to call the Memorial Cup final? Boyle makes it a point of taking off his shoes when calling Chiefs games, but I'm wondering if the floor was to dirty in Kitchener for him to pull of his dress shoes to get comfortable in the broadcast booth?
  • Winning a Memorial Cup title is sweet, but one look at the calender tells you that in three months training camp will start up again. No one on the Chiefs roster will tell you they didn't enjoy every moment of it, but like anything, time away from the rink will be good for both the mind and the body.
  • Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton says he may make two selections at this summers CHL European draft. Hamilton isn't confident that he will land Mikael Backlund, after taking the Calgary Flames first round pick in last years Euro draft. Hamilton also isn't sure if Milan Kytnar fits into the teams plans next season either. Kytnar will be 19. It's uncertain if Kytnar even wants to return to play the role of defensive forward. He sure won't see much power play time with a returning cast that includes an abundance of 19 year-old forwards.
  • I had a chance Monday night to watch the 3rd period of the Wings/Penguins series. You have to love Chris Osgood's cat-eye mask and helmet. It's old school and I love it. Now if he just wouldn't fall down like he was shot every time someone touched him!!!
  • You can always learn from others. A good example of that was listening/watching the NHL.COM highlites from game two. Mike Emmerick was again calling the play-by-play, and when the Wings opened up the scoring he said "One nothing". He didn't need to say "One nothing Wings" because it was obvious from the fan reaction that the Wings had definitely scored. The more I listen to him, the more I like him.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Haber/McLellan and a Cute Kyle Beach

  • Marc Habscheid, get out the resume. The Vancouver Canucks ushered out assistant coaches Mike Kelly and Barry Smith on Wednesday. Why would I suggest Habscheid for one of the two vacant spots in Alain Vigneault's coaching staff? Haber is simply to good of a coach to be watching from the sidelines. It's time for the former Kelowna Rockets head coach to get back in the game.
  • So you don't think Habscheid would be candidate? Don't forget that in June of 2006 the 'Province' newspaper reported that Habscheid interviewed for the vacant head coaching job with the Canucks when Mark Crawford was let go.
  • I have mixed feelings when picking a winner in the Stanley Cup final. I would side with Detroit only for the fact I would like to see Wings assistant coach Todd McLellan hoist the cup. I had the privilege of being the broadcaster of the Swift Current Broncos when McLellan was guiding the ship before we both left the organization after the 1999-2000 season. Todd went to Houston and I landed in Kelowna. Let's just say his acceleration to the NHL was a little quicker than mine.
  • How cool would it be to see the Wings win the Stanley Cup with former Spokane head coach Mike Babcock guiding Detroit, and then having the Chiefs capture the Memorial Cup in the same season?
  • The Penguins have 13 former first round draft picks. The Wings have just 3.
  • Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton has just returned from the Memorial Cup in Kitchener. Hamilton says the three games he saw were outstanding, and the city of Kitchener has put on a terrific show in hosting the event. Hamilton says Kitchener is another example of how successful a Memorial Cup can be in a smaller center. Granted Kitchener is no Prince Albert (Kitchener's population is 250 thousand), but Hamilton says it would be nice to see a smaller center get the tournament when the WHL has it's turn in 2010. Next years M.C will be held in Rimouski Quebec.
  • As Spokane Chiefs play-by-play man Mike Boyle prepares to broadcast the Memorial Cup final, it would be best that he prepares himself mentally and emotionally for what could be one of the best experiences in his broadcasting career. In 2004 when the Rockets faced Gatineau in the MC final, I fought back emotion in the final 10 minutes of the 3rd period as the Rockets held on to a 2-1 lead. When the game was over I had the luxury of doing on-ice interviews with the Rockets as they celebrated, yet I was caught between hugging them and interviewing them. I didn't care how it looked. After being with those special athletes all season long, I was happy to see them accomplish their goal.
  • I know many fans across the WHL who hate Kelowna resident Kyle Beach. But honestly how can you have such a bad taste in your mouth for a kid as cute as Kyle?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Need To Rant, And It Ain't Hockey Related

  • Recognize this kid? No he's not one of my twin boys. I'll tell you who he is at the bottom of this posting.
  • Still lots of hockey left to be played, yet I have to hand it to the Spokane Chiefs for making us proud with two gutsy efforts at the Memorial Cup. Coach Bill Peters has a focused group who have been stingy on defense, but more impressively have shown some offensive flair at this years tournament. While teams out East believe the WHL is all about defense, the Chiefs are showing the 'Q' and the 'O' that they can beat ya with a good combination of the two. Tuesday's game against Gatineau will be interesting as the Chiefs face a team that cares little about defense and likes nothing more than trading scoring chances with you.
  • Just four teams remain alive in the American Hockey League playoffs, and three former Kelowna Rockets are involved in the mix. The Chicago Wolves are involved in one league semi final, and feature former Rockets Jesse Schultz and Joel Kwiatkowski. The Portland Pirates are involved in another semi final, where Simon Ferguson attempts to lead his team into the championship final.
  • If you are like me and don't want to dedicate 2 and a half hours a night watching the NHL playoffs, check out NHL.COM for a highlite package following each game. Unlike what you see on TSN or Sportsnet with video highlites, these highlite packages give you the goals, but also feature good scoring chances, hits and big saves. You can really get a good feel of how good the final four teams are by the 3 minute video package offered by NHL.COM.
  • What I really like about the highlite package is listening to veteran play-by-play man Mike Emmerick. Up here in Canada we hear very little of him, but the new/old voice with unique ways of describing where the puck is for the Americanized audience is interesting to listen too.
  • I ran into a Rockets season ticket holder this long weekend who is a regular reader of this blog. I was asked the question, "Why don't you post more frequently on your blog during the off season". Not to be rude, my answer was simple. "I have a life". I short change my family for 8 months during the hockey season, the least I can do is pay attention to them in the off season. In one sense I admire others who post on a regular basis on their respective blogs, but then at times I question it all. If I was getting paid for the number of posts on this blog, I'd be posting at all times of the day. But I don't get a dime. I am not about to take time away from my family by posting regularily during the off-season for the sake of making others happy. My wife and two kids come first, and as I get wiser with age, hockey is a distant second in the off-season. My wife will say the two are reversed during the winter, and she's probably right.
  • If I was single again I would have spent my entire Sunday in front of the TV. With Canada going for gold, Crosby trying to move to the Stanley Cup finals and the Spokane Chiefs playing their second game at the Memorial Cup, I could have been sitting in my living room watching hockey for over 6 hours. But being a dad and spending a beautiful day indoors when it's +28 outside made no sense. I spent the day in Penticton on the beach with my wife and boys. It wasn't until I got home that evening that I hopped on the computer to get caught up on what happened. Something tells me my presence in front of the TV - yelling - wouldn't have prevented Canada from losing to the Russians.
  • I was told this past week by several co-workers that Kelowna is a lame town if your single. I'm thinking...are you kidding me? Kelowna is not party central, but if you are looking for something to do outdoors, you can't get it any better. I have not lived in 15 cities across Canada trying to make it to the top, but whether it's Swift Current or Kelowna, it's the friends you meet and the activities that you get involved in that bring contentment. I have a friend in Val Marie Saskatchewan who loves the place. He golfs, plays slow pitch and is a decision maker in that small community. Funny thing is he's single. OK he bitches about the lack of available women in the area, but you get my point. If you don't get involved in the community you live in, New York can be considered dull.
  • The picture at the top of this posting is Kelowna Rockets defenseman Tyler Myers. Myers is 4 years old in that picture. If you think I am embarrassing him, settle down, I'm not. That picture is viewed by thousands on NHL.COM.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Little Spurg Ready For Kitchener

A great pic of Spokane Chiefs defenseman Jared Spurgeon in Lethbridge with the WHL championship trophy in hand. The younger brother of former Kelowna Rockets forward Tyler Spurgeon is set for the Chiefs first game of the tournament, Saturday against Belleville. Jared will have his mom Debi in attendance to cheer him on.

  • The Kelowna Rockets will be represented at the Memorial Cup. Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton will attend the tournament representing the Western Hockey League. Hamilton has taken over the duties left by Ed Chynoweth, who passed away from his battle with cancer.
  • Somethings just never change. It's interesting that Peter DeBoer is still the head coach of the Kitchener Rangers and Benoit Groulx guides the Quebec champion Gatineau Olympiques. DeBoer guided the Rangers when the Rockets were involved in the Memorial Cup in Quebec City in 2003, a tournament DoBoer and the Rangers won. Groulx was there too, and showed up again when Gatineau represented the 'Q' at the Memorial Cup in Kelowna in 2004.
  • All four teams at the Memorial Cup have had their fingers fitted for a championship ring. Chiefs radio play-by-play man Mike Boyle reports all players took part in the ring fitting. But was Boyle included? Yours truly and Vancouver Giants play-by-play man Joey Kenward have Memorial Cup rings thanks to the generosity of the two organizations. If the Chiefs win the cup, I'd hope Boyle wouldn't be left out. Does he contribute to the Chiefs successes on the ice? No! That said, Boyle travels with this team, and if you ask the players, is considered apart of the team.
  • Boyle should have a blast at his first Memorial Cup. Oh sure at times he will look like a chicken with his head cut off, but his responsibilities are to cover the Chiefs three round-robin games, a potential tie breaker and potentially the championship final. It's much easier than being the host broadcaster where you broadcast every game. All that glitters is not gold. Calling every game at the Memorial Cup simply doesn't allow you to enjoy the festivities outside of the arena. Don't get me wrong, I loved my time as the host broadcaster in 2004, but being able to enjoy all aspects of the event like I did in Quebec City in 2003 and London Ontario in 2005 makes for a more relaxed experience. While the trip to the Memorial Cup is business, you have to have some fun along the way.
  • Why do I love junior hockey so much? It's cool to watch the NHL playoffs and say "I remember watching that guy play". I found myself saying that the other night when Maxine Talbot scored a big goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference final. Talbot was part of the Gatineau Olympiques at the 2004 Memorial Cup in Kelowna. One thing that hasn't changed from his days as a junior is his beard. His playoff beard was as good in 2004 as it is today as a pro.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kobasew Cashes In

The Boston Bruins have re-signed forward Chuck Kobasew to a multi-year contract extension Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Kobasew, a native of Osoyoos, B.C., had a career year for Boston in the regular season with 22 goals, 17 assists and 39 points.

Kobasew was acquired by the Bruins from the Calgary Flames in February 2007. He is 55-57-112 in 293 regular season games with Boston and the Flames.
(The Canadian Press)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Things That Make Me Go Hmm...

  • Congrats to the Spokane Chiefs for winning the WHL title. But now that the Chiefs are off to the Memorial Cup as league representatives, let's not **it on them if they struggle at the tournament. Trust me, the Memorial Cup is a crap shoot, and often times the best teams just can't find their game during the week long tournament. Look at it this way. After an emotional playoff, teams are required to get a hate-on for an opponent they frankly know little about. On top of that they have to adjust to OHL and QMJHL officiating, and all the distractions that come with playing in a tournament of that magnitude makes it a huge struggle for many teams that fail to adjust. I'm not here to make excuses for the Chiefs should they falter, but if they do, let's be cautious about how critical we are about the team that is representing 'our' league, the Spokane Chiefs who accomplished a great feat - winning the league title.
  • Josh Gorges is back on Kelowna soil today. I spoke to the Montreal Canadiens defenseman Thursday, who told me he was flying back to the Okanagan today. Gorges will spend the summer in K-Town relaxing, before getting back in the gym to improve on a season which saw the former Kelowna Rocket elevate his play in the post season.
  • The Lethbridge Hurricanes have lost a member of their coaching staff. Assistant Coach Jeff Battah has taken a job as GM/Coach with Drayton Valley of the AJHL. I don't know Jeff well, but he is a reader of this blog. I appreciated his comments about the verbal diarea I spill out on this blog when we spoke this season, and wish him the best in his new capacity.
  • To my surprise Debi Spurgeon and her husband failed to take in the two games that were played in nearby Lethbridge during the WHL final. The mother of Chiefs d-man Jared Spurgeon was busy working during those weekday games, meaning Shaw cable was the only way she could get close to the action. If Debi can't get some time off for a trip to the Memorial Cup in Kitchener Ontario, somethings wrong with her employer. Come on, give this lady a break!!
  • My conversation with Jeff Truitt this week was an interesting one. Truitt, an assistant coach with the AHL's Springfield Falcons, says his team is so well situated in the AHL that the team spent just 8 nights in a hotel the entire season. That's a far cry from the Kelowna Rockets, who spend close to 20 nights minimum in a hotel over the course of the season.
  • I thought it was interesting that Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller won't be in attendance when the Jazz face the LA Lakers in a playoff game on Sunday. A devout Mormon, Miller won't break a law that forbids him to attend Sunday games, which would be considered work. It got me to thinking about a WHL team drafting a player, who's beliefs forbid him to play Sunday games. If he was a Kelowna Rocket, he would have missed just 6 games. The saving grace for this player would be the fact that the Rockets do not play a game on Sunday's on home ice.
  • I read the Prince George Cougars are looking for a new trainer. David Michaud, it's time to step up to the plate!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Things That Make Me Go Hmm...

  • I'll admit game three of the WHL final Tuesday night was a little dull to watch. The play-by-play crew did a great job of covering it, but the play on the ice doesn't exactly have you sitting on the edge of your seat. That said, the Hurricanes had to play it that way to even have a fighting chance against the Chiefs in this series. In my opinion had Tri City advanced to the league final instead of Spokane, the results would have been similar.Do I think the Hurricanes will be eliminated in game four tonight? I'll give them a game, but nothing more.
  • Sportsnet broadcaster Peter Loubardias was featured in an in-between periods interview Tuesday night on Shaw TV. I love Pete. I don't love him persay, but I love his passion for the junior game. Loubardias is one of these broadcasters that deserves a full time gig at the pro level in my opinion. He's paid his dues, calling games at one time for the SJHL's Estevan Bruins before moving on to the Regina Pats and then eventually becoming the pretty face on Sportsnet hockey broadcasts. It's those type of broadcasters I like to see excel. Loubardias is a class act.
  • While game three of the WHL final was decided in overtime, the same can't be said for the QMJHL final where Gatineau blew out Rouyn-Noranda 10-4 last night in game three of that league final. You have to love the 'Q' where they shoot out the lights and pay little attention to defense. Oddly enough in game two, Rouyn-Noranda beat Gatineau 6-2. In game one Gatineau won 6-2.
  • What are the Kelowna Rockets up to these days? I understand head scout Lorne Frey is busy sending out letters inviting players to rookie camp this fall. All teams must wait until Friday to send out those invites, making it a level playing field - league wide.
  • Getting back to the bantam draft, did you notice every team had the same response when commenting on the player they selected in the opening round. "He was the player we wanted, and we got him", was the comment coming from the majority of the 22 teams on draft day.
  • I did a double take when I heard Shaws Joe Kenward speaking to Spokane Chiefs forward Drayson Bowman following game two of the WHL final. For a minute I thought Kenward was speaking to Kelowna Rockets defenseman Collin Bowman. The two are obviously brothers, but the same tone of voice and the way they verbalize things was amazing. It reminded me of a chat I had with Brandon Wheat Kings forward Brayden Schenn, who sounded much like his older brother Luke.
  • If I was a betting man, I'd put my money on Tyler Spurgeon being in attendance at the WHL final now that the series has shifted to Lethbridge for the next three games. The older brother of Spokane Chiefs defenseman Jared Spurgeon lives in nearby Edmonton. If Tyler isn't at the games, you've got to know Jared's mom and dad sure are. They are great supports of their sons, and have been great supporters of our Rockets radio broadcasts over the years. Even this past season I received an encouraging e-mail from Tyler and Jared's mom. She's a great lady.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Big News for Rockets Prospect

Is Mikael Backlund a step closer to joining the Kelowna Rockets? The Calgary Flames signed the first-rounder today to a contract.
It's been suggested that once Backlund signed with the Flames, GM Darryl Sutter would like to see the prospect play a season in North America, likely in the WHL, where the Rockets hold his junior playing rights.
Sutter said earlier this season he had no problem with the idea of Backlund remaining in Sweden, yet a few months later said he would like to see Backlund in the WHL.
Warren Henderson in the Capital News spoke to Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton about a month ago about landing Backlund. “I think the Flames intend is to get him over here for a year to ride the buses and play some hockey in North America to get him ready. If he doesn’t make the Flames, I would hope to see him with us. He’s a dynamic player.”
Backlund was selected with the 24th overall pick of the 2007 NHL entry draft.

This is what Hamilton told AM 1150 when we spoke last June after the Rockets selected Backlund in the CHL European draft.
"It's a flyer. Knowing Darryl (Sutter), I know he wants him to have some North American culture before he's ready to play for their organization, so whether he's here this year or next year, that's why we took the chance on this. I have given up our first round pick in next year's draft to get this pick, so it makes sense if he is here next year. Is it a risk? You bet it's a risk."
If Backlund does play in the WHL, this so called 'risk' will make the Rockets GM look like a genius.

Things That Make Me Go Hmm...

  • I found it interesting that Shane McColgan says one thing he needs to work on is controlling the intensity in which he plays. It doesn't seem like a problem to me. My theory is you can't teach someone to play with intensity. It's either a part of your makeup or it's not. I would take a player who plays an overly intense game over one who doesn't appear to have a pulse. Pulling back the reins is far easier than whipping a dead horse.
  • McColgan told me his mother was born in Saskatoon. That would enable McColgan to have dual citizenship if he so chooses down the road. If he is an elite player, which the Rockets assume he will indeed eventually be, he could have the choice of playing for either Canada or his native U.S if the opportunity of playing international hockey arises.
  • McColgan also told me his mother Kelly was an elite swimmer in her day. McColgan says she was close to representing Canada at one time at the Olympic Games. It obviously shows that athleticism is part of his genetic makeup.
  • I am amazed at how mature today's kids are. McColgan spoke confidently when I gave him a call yesterday. He was enthused about being a member of the Rockets, and appears excited to attend rookie came this fall. Unfortunately for all of the players taken in Thursday's draft, we will have to wait patiently, as they can't play until 2009-2010.
  • McColgan is coached by Jack Bowkus, who has also guided the playing careers of WHL'ers like Colin Long, Mitch Wahl, Jonathon Blum and C.J Stretch. One wonders if the success Bowkus is having developing skilled California kids, would he not someday be considered for a coaching job at the WHL level? Bowkus, 40, is a alumnus of the Saskatoon Blades.
  • Bowkus has high praise for Colin Long. When I asked him about Long's success this season and the potential of the Rockets leading scorer being drafted this summer, he had this to say. "He (Long) will be a big name in the NHL someday", Bowkus told me Thursday. "In ten years the NHL team that drafts him will say, are we ever glad we took him:"
  • The Rockets last pick is the draft was Dillon Simpson from Edmonton. Simpson is the son of former NHL, turned broadcaster Craig Simpson.
  • While the NHL draft is still a ways away, the possibility of having two Rockets selected in the top 10 in Ottawa is a good bet. It happened last season when the London Knights had Patrick Kane (#1) and Sam Gagner (#6) selected in the top 10. The last WHL team to see two of it's players selected in the top 10 were the Medicine Hat Tigers, when Jay Bouwmeester (#3) and Joffrey Lupul (#7) were selected in 2002.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Interview With Shane McColgan and his Coach

Note: Special thanks to Helen Alex, the mother of former Kamloops Blazers d-man/forward Ray Macias for providing me with a picture for the blog of McColgan and the contact numbers for both party's involved in this piece.

Here is my conversation with Shane McColgan on being drafted by the Rockets:

"Obviously it's exciting to be drafted by the Rockets. It was a team I wanted to go to. It's an honor and I'm excited."

Were you aware that the Rockets were interested in drafting you?

"I met with them (Rockets) down in Anaheim when they came down for the prospects camp. I met with them for about 2 and a half hours. I met with the GM and the coach. I gave them that feeling that I am interesting in coming up to the WHL, and that's why they drafted me.

Am I putting you on the spot by asking you if you are coming to the WHL, not going the U.S college route down the road:

"No you are not putting me on the spot. I think I am coming to the WHL in the next year or so. Obviously I have a lot of options, but I think the fastest way to get to the NHL is through the WHL, so I think that's a good route for me to take."

What do you need to work on before wearing Kelowna Rockets colours?

"I think I have the strength, but you can always improved on your strength and quickness and things like that. I think I need to work on the mental side of my game. I'm a competitive guy and my emotions sometimes get to me, so those are some things I need to work on."

Here is my conversation with McColgan's coach Jack Bowkus:

"As much attention as he's gotten, Shane was fully aware of the WHL bantam draft and what was taking place there. "

He is definitely a player that somebody was going to take in the first round. He is probably very, very happy knowing that Colin Long and a team he is familiar with drafted him today."

What kind of player is he?

"He's very, very driven. He has speed, he can score and he's aggressive. I haven't seen a guy play with that much intensity since Wendel Clark, a former teammate of mine in Saskatoon."

Do you sense he is leaning towards to the WHL?

"I feel the WHL is the best junior hockey league in North America. For kids that go there, that's what I feel, and I think Shane knows that a lot of players have gone there and have done very well. I know for a fact he was very interested in being drafted by Kelowna and I can't see why it wouldn't happen."

Rockets First Pick Is....

  • It appears the Kelowna Rockets have traded their first pick in today's WHL bantam draft to the Brandon Wheat Kings. Stay tuned.

  • The Rockets have used the Wheat Kings 13th overall pick and selected an American born player. Shane McColgan (pictured above) is a forward, who played midget triple 'A' in Los Angeles this season. McColgan is 5'10 - 160 pounds. McColgan's hometown is Manhattan Beach California.

  • Note: The Rockets received a 4th round bantam pick from the Wheat Kings for allowing them to select 10th overall in round one.

  • McColgan was coached this past season by Jack Bowkus. Name sound familiar? Bowkus was a forward with the Saskatoon Blades in the early 80's. Bowkus preaches the virtues of the WHL to his players, so landing McColgan shouldn't be a problem.

  • The Rockets picked Zachery Franko, a smallish skilled forward from Winnipeg with their second round pick. Franko scored 43 goals playing bantam hockey this past season. He's 5'9 but weighs just 135 pounds. The Rockets then selected defenseman Tanner Clark in round three. Clark is from Jeff Truitt's hometown of Rosetown Saskatchewan.

  • 13 of the 22 players selected in the first round were from Alberta. Only four of the first 22 picks were from BC, including #1 overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from Burnaby.

Top 10 Interviews From This Past Season

1) Mark Messier. When the Rockets acquired the playing rights to Lyon Messier, you had to know that the 'Moose' would show up at sometime during the season. It become abundantly clear though that Lyons time with the Rockets would be short lived, so when I saw Messier at a morning skate in Everett, I seized the chance to chat with the NHL legend. I'll admit I was intimidated when I walked up to him as he was sitting in the stands. Yet after about two minutes of small talk, Messier showed me he is a class act, and didn't give me the feeling I was wasting his time. The ten minute interview (I could have gone on for 20 minutes) was a treat that this radio broadcaster will never forget.
2) Karl Alzner. The Hitmen made just one stop in Kelowna this past season, and Alzner was the target for a pre-game interview. On the advise of Luke Schenn, who spoke fondly of Alzner as a teammate with Team Canada, Alzner is mature beyond his years. He's such a pro, and spoke confidently about his World Junior experiences and his love for the game. I didn't get cliches, and left the interview with a better appreciation for a player who's as good on the ice as he is in front of a microphone.
3) Brady Leavold. If you haven't got it yet, I liked Leavold when he came over from Swift Current. He was a player you wanted to cheer for because of his off ice struggles with the Broncos. Whether all or some of the stories were true, he proved to be a great example to the younger players and was a pleasure to chat with during an interview. Leavold is outspoken and does his best to express himself without going over the line and being completely honest. Honestly can get you into trouble, yet Leavold did his best to get as close to the line as possible without going over it. In my opinion he's one of the best Rocket interviews ever in my time in Kelowna.
4) Tomas Hickey: While I was impressed with his play for the T-Birds in the opening round series with the Rockets, a chat I had with him before game three had be waving my pomp pomp's for the articulate d-man. Hickey even knew my name when we shook hands in our first encounter. The fact he knows who the peon opposition broadcaster is, is awfully impressive.
5) Kelly McCrimmon. He's a smart hockey man, and during an interview I had with him late in the season McCrimmon was candid and brutally honest when we spoke about Brayden Schenn. It was well documented last summer that Brayden and the Wheat Kings were at odds, and now that things had settled, both McCrimmon and the sensational rookie were speaking the same language. I respect McCrimmon a straight shooter who rarely makes a bad player move.
6) Rocky Thompson: The Edmonton Oil Kings assistant coach was a joy to talk to in a pre-game interview. He is so well spoken, brutally honest, and loves to gab about his playing days. He was on my top 10 list of interviews as a player when he was with Medicine Hat and Swift Current, and didn't disappoint in the 8 minute conversation I had with him now as a coach.
7) Bruce Hamilton. Hamilton has always been outspoken, and never pulls any punches when asked a question. In fact over my time with the Rockets, he has never backed away from a question I've asked him. Hamilton is open to share inside information with me on players on his roster, with the knowledge I won't be sharing that with fellow colleagues. What more can I ask for as the teams broadcaster?
8) Josiah Anderson. This one may come out of left field, but the former Rockets love for life and joy of playing the game of hockey in Europe this past season made for an excellent interview. Anderson was so pleased that he was fortunate enough to land with a team overseas, you could hear it in his voice. It's not often I get a chance to speak with former Rockets alumni over the course of the hockey season, but my long distance chat with the likable Anderson was well worth the service charge.
9) Ryan Huska. As the season wore on I got an even getter appreciation for the soft spoken coach. Huska wouldn't shy away when asked about his teams struggles, and unlike some coaches, called out players while praising others when it was deemed appropriate.

10) Don Hay. The Giants head coach reveals something new about the game every time I chat with him.