Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Notes, quotes and anecdotes - Part 2

Cooke`s tape job.
  • What’s with the stick? Have you noticed the tape job, or lack of tape used on the stick of 20 year-old goaltender Jordon Cooke? A small strip of tape is used on the tip  leaving the majority of it exposed. Most goalies have the entire blade covered in tape. Cooke tells me his favourite number is six. He was born on June 6th. June is also the 6th month of the year. The Leduc, Alberta product was the Rockets 6th player chosen in the WHL bantam draft. So, going with the 6 theme, Cooke wraps his stick in tape by going around....six times. Count it yourself if you don't believe me.
  • The Vancouver Giants are one BC Division team that has had marginal success against the Kelowna Rockets this season. I asked head coach Don Hay why? “We just know that if we don’t come with a real hard game against Kelowna we are going to be embarrassed.  Probably a bit of fear motivates us too”.  
  • The Rockets have an unprecedented ten Alberta born players on this seasons roster. Four of them call Calgary home. The Edmonton area used to be the hot bed for hockey talent, and still is, but the Calgary minor hockey system has really improved. That may explain why Team Pacific, with a vastly improved BC minor hockey system, had so much success at the recent Under 17’s. Oh, a growing population doesn't hurt either.
  • I realize that the economy is solid in Fort McMurray, but as we traveled up to Edmonton, I can’t see many WHL owners getting excited over expanding/relocating a team to Fort McMurray. To think, once you arrive in Edmonton you need to drive an additional 4 and a half hours (436 kilometers) to find the city of 61,374. That's a long haul, even for Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.
  • Tyson Baillie is wearing an Edmonton Oilers toque on this trip. That is a far better choice than that Toronto Raptors head gear he was sporting on the Saskatchewan swing. Did I mention I hate basketball?   
  • Joe Gatenby and Nick Merkley are back with the team after winning a silver medal at the Under 17’s with Team Pacific. By all indications, Merkley was one of the best players on the team. The 16 year-old told me he wasn’t satisfied with his play. “Personally, I didn’t think I was very good in the tournament. I didn’t think I produced,” Merkley told me after practice today.  Harsh critic. Merkley was a point a game player alongside linemate Tyler Soy of the Victoria Royals.
  • Excited! That would best describe rookie forward Kris Schmidili at the prospect of attending his first NHL game. The Rockets will attend tonight’s game between the Oilers and the visiting St. Louis Blues. The 17 year-old is also looking forward to playing two games on NHL ice, in Edmonton and Calgary. 
  • Gas in Edmonton is 106.9. Hate the weather, love the price at the pump. 
  • The Rockets had a morning practicing at the Canmore Recreation Centre. It is a two sheet of ice facility built in 1988 and is the home of the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Canmore Eagles. Who was the last Rockets player to come out of the AJHL? Mitch Wheaton played with the Spruce Grove Saints.
  • It was nice to run into Canmore Eagles head coach Andy Milne. The 35 year-old and I go back to my early days as a broadcaster with the Swift Current Broncos. Milne helped me in the broadcast booth, often calling games with me on the road. I will never forget how fired up he would get on the air if a player took liberties on one of the Broncos. I remember him getting so excited in the booth that he ripped the phone cord off the wall, providing for a considerable amount of dead air.
  • The City of Edmonton is known as the City of Champions. Hmm. The Oilers haven`t won the Stanley Cup since 1990. The Eskimos haven`t won the Grey Cup since 2005. Only the Oil Kings have kept up their end of the bargain with a WHL title in 2012.


Jared Comeau said...

I suppose if 6 wraps is what it takes to have a record that Cooke has...then so be it!

Unknown said...

Re: your twitter post - 6 Former Rockets to Play in 2014 Olympics.

Weber, Keith, Benn, Edler, Darzins and Raffl should compete at 2014 Sochi Olympics hockey tournament.

Lauris Darzins, who is currently playing with the KHL's Chelyabinsk Traktor’s, has been named to Team Latvia.

Thomas Raffl (who played 15 games for the Rockets in 2005-06) of the EC Salzburg from the Austrian Hockey League, was named to Team Austria.