Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Final Alumni Weekend Thoughts

  • Still no word on how much was raised from the Kelowna Rockets alumni weekend, but it again was another huge success. Anne-Marie Hamilton is the key in making this event run flawlessly from Thursday's golf game at the Harvest to Sunday's alumni hockey game at the Capital News Centre. The players, like Shea Weber below with a fan, deserve a tip of the cap for playing in both events and spending time signing autographs.

  • It's not often that you sit and enjoy a buffet dinner and talk with an NHL player, but I had that opportunity when crossing paths with Brett McLean. The former Rockets alumnus is a class act and is willing to spend time with any one, even me, to talk hockey. Making his off season home in Kelowna, McLean was genuinely pleased to sign a new deal with the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks in early July. After a few years in Europe, McLean is ecstatic to be back playing hockey on North American soil. "I made the decision mid-season in Switzerland to come back here and get the contract done with the Hawks. Now I am looking forward to September." McLean played with the Hawks during the 2003-2004 season. "They know what I can bring to the team. It's my responsibility now to show them that right from the start of training camp so hopefully I can make their decision easy to keep me right from the start of the season." I asked McLean if he felt he would get lost in the shuffle when he left the NHL two years ago to try his hand in Europe. "Ya, definitely. I was conscious of that decision when I decided to go to Switzerland. When I did decide to come back their was definitely a fear that I was off the radar so-to-speak, so I was pleased that teams were still interested and things were able to work themselves out".

  • Speaking of heading overseas, Carson Germyn is off to Germany after spending last season in Switzerland. "Over there everything is paid for and tax free...but hopefully I have a good year and I can come back and play here (North America). I feel fortunate to still be playing at my age. I makes it tougher as you get older and their are so many hockey players out there that are good so I feel fortunate I think".

  • New York Islanders forward Blake Comeau had a smile on his face after I ran into him at the golf range. Comeau got married earlier this month. And yes, the wedding was in Kelowna, his off season home.

  • A familar face from the 2009 WHL Championship team took in the alumni activities. I was pleased to run into Tysen Dowzak, who has cut ties with the New York Rangers and is now looking for a new contract. "It feels like I never left. It feels like I have been gone for a week. It's a true testament to know that you have made a lot of good friends with so many people. It is so good to be back in the Okanagan. I love this place...its a second home to me".

  • And a former Rockets defenceman has elected to retire. I will tell you who he is later this week.

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