Thursday, September 3, 2009

Things That Make Me Go Hmm....

  • I am often amazed at the maturity level of the new faces breaking into the Western Hockey League. Often times these 16-17 year-olds speak with the confidence and clarity of someone who has more years under their belt. Seventeen year-old rookie Antoine Corbin is one of those players that impressed me during a conversation we had Thursday afternoon following practice. It may have something to do with the Montreal, Quebec resident leaving home at a relatively early age. Corbin played two seasons ago in Caronport, Saskatchewan before playing last year at Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton. I am not sure Corbin has earned a spot with the Rockets this season, but the fact that 12 veterans are attending NHL training camps allows him to play in more exhibition games in an effort to show he can play at this level.
  • Speaking of maturity beyond his years, look no further than 15 year-old rookie defenceman MacKenzie Johnston. Sure, sure, MacKenzie is from Swift Current - my hometown - so he doesn't need to impress me to get in my good books, but he too left home at a relatively young age and it shows. Johnston played bantam hockey in Wilcox, Saskatchewan at 14 before returning home to play his 15 year-old season with the Swift Current Legionnaries. Johnston is a well spoken kid, who won't turn 16 until October. That's right, he can't even drive yet. Johnston told me today he isn't worried about being home sick now that he has landed in Kelowna. The reason? His X-Box has arrived from home. For the record, Johnston's mother Norma was my swimming instructor back in Speedy Creek.
  • Chilliwack Bruins gm/coach Marc Habscheid has an inside track on Johnston. Habscheid helped Swift Current Legionnaries head coach Regan Darby last season.
  • It's down to three goaltenders attempting to fill two spots in the Rockets goal. Veterans Mark Guggenberger and Adam Brown and joined by rookie Patrick Fairclough. Brown has played in all three exhibition games to date.
  • It appears 17 year-old Colton Jobke has earned a spot on the team this season. After spending a season with the Penticton Vees, Jobke is attempting to earn a spot on a Rockets' blue line that has lost just one d-man, 21 year-old Tysen Dowzak. That number could change to two with the potential loss of Tyler Myers. Jobke's claim to fame? His cousin is Boston Red Soxs outfielder Jason Bay. Jobke and Bay were born and raised in Trail, B.C.
  • The Kelowna Rockets are getting set to unveil a new website. No official date of the launch of the new website has been announced but it should be up and running before the start of the regular season September 17th. One of the best major junior websites around is owned by the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights. If the Rockets' website can come anywhere close, it will be a hit with the fans.
  • The NHL has a quota for the number of veterans that must play in an exhibition game in an effort to keep the level of play at a high level. Should the WHL have a similar rule in place to make sure the level of play - even if its pre-season - does not deteriorate at the expense of its fans.
  • He just can't stay away. AM-1150 colour analyst Gord McGarva will be at Saturday night's Rockets exhibition game against the Blazers, but he won't be in the broadcast booth. McGarva has been asked to help out in the time keepers booth, a job he held for several years prior to joining me on the radio last season. McGarva assures me that he will be back in the broadcast booth for the home opener on September 17th. If he doesn't arrive 10 minutes before the buffet is served 30 minutes before warm-up, I'll be concerned.


njohnston62 said...

Hello Regan, WOW! I am impressed you remembered an old swimming instructor. Maybe that was the beginning process of the development of the great set of pipes you have for broadcasting. And THAHK YOU for taking time to talk to Mackenzie!

Regan Bartel said...

Hi Norma. MacKenzie told me you now have an empty house. No! That's a good and bad thing I'm sure. I will post my conversation with MacKenzie in the coming days. He seems like a great young man, but he's from Swift so would he be anything but?