- He won't be the most talented player at Kelowna Rockets main camp this week, but he could be considered one of the most committed. Sixteen year-old Rourke Chartier, the Rockets first pick in the WHL Bantam draft two years ago, was the top performer in the teams physical testing in the 5 K run. That is no small feat for a young player who is trying to earn a spot on the team and therefore bypassing another year of midget hockey with the Saskatoon Contacts. Does Chartier's impressive showing send a message to the coaching staff that he did everything in his power to make sure he was in top physical shape heading into training camp? No question. He won't earn a spot because of his impressive showing on the track, but any time one of the youngest players leads the pack you have to be impressed.
- Who's that picture of the young guy holding that Medicine Hat Tigers puck? That is a blurry-eyed Spencer Main the day after scoring his first career WHL goal at the 'Arena' in Medicine Hat. Now 20, time has flown by for Main, who is one of just two overagers on the Rockets roster. With the graduation of Brett Lyon, Cody Chikie and Adam Brown, The pride of North Vancouver is joined by Mitchell Chapman as the two elder statesmen on this years team. Will the Rockets add a third? Unless you are in a huge rebuilding phase, having three 20 year-old's is always the best option.
- Close to 60 players make up three teams at main camp.
- After what seemed to be forever at the Capital News Centre, everyone is back at Prospera Place. The most relieved has to be athletic therapist Jeff Thorburn. It must have been a huge pain to bring all of the teams gear to an alternate location for rookie camp.
- My guess is the Rockets will have close to eight goalies at main camp, including veteran Jordon Cooke. The back up battle could be the most interesting. Now that James Fisk is out of the picture and is trying out with Canmore of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, 16 year-old Thomas Spence will be the one to watch. Why Spence? He was the Rockets 5th round pick in 2011. Clearly Spence and 15 year-old Jacob Morrissey are the franchises goalies of the future.
- If the Rockets elect to keep three 16 year-old's this season, Riley Stadel and Austin Glover have a good shot of being in the mix. I really liked Stadel's composure when he dressed with the team last season in Vancouver. Stadel was the Rockets third round pick in 2011 behind Austin Glover (2nd overall) and Chartier (1st overall). I haven't seen Rourke Chartier in game action, so for the moment Stadel is the most WHL ready. Glover may have turned the corner though, after a decent year with the Saskatoon Contacts.
- Tuesday mornings scrimmage will give me a chance to see two new players that could bring a lot to the table this season. Ryan Olsen, acquired in the Shane McColgan deal this summer, should add some much needed size down the middle. I will also be watching Swedish forward Henrik Nyberg with interest in the opening scrimmage. Will he be an impact player or an innocent bystander? The last Swedish born player to make an impact on the Rockets was Alex Edler. 'Eddie' didn't say much, but the dude could play.
- With the chance of a NHL lockout looming large, you have to feel for Colton Sissons, Ryan Olsen and Damon Severson. All three were drafted in June, yet all three may be staying in Kelowna rather than attending their first ever NHL training camps.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Chartier serves notice and Main is now an old man
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