Friday, June 13, 2014

Hamilton up for the challenge on two high profile fronts

Bruce Hamilton
  • Bruce Hamilton loves a challenge. The Kelowna Rockets general manager will again be an integral part of the management team for Hockey Canada at the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships in Montreal and Toronto. Hamilton was apart of the management team that lost in the bronze medal game in Sweden at the 2013 tournament. Hamilton has one World Junior Championship medal in his home after his son Curtis was a part of Team Canada’s entry at the 2011 tournament. Hamilton told me winning a gold medal at the World Juniors would be ‘his Stanley Cup’.
  • It has been a busy week for Hamilton, who was re-elected as Chairman of the Board at the WHL annual meetings Wednesday in Vancouver. Hamilton is now in his seventh term as chairman, which is the longest tenure of anyone to hold the post in league history. I may be reading between the lines, but it doesn’t appear anyone else wants the job. No one is stepping up and saying, ‘pick me, pick me’. Instead they are taking the easy way out by re-electing Hamilton. The main reason why, I assume, is it takes a lot of work and being the chairman often puts you in a tough spot  when you have to make decision for the betterment of the league that may not sit well with some people.    
  • League governors have voted for a new playoff format that mirrors the one used in the NHL. The new format should set up divisional playoff match ups in round one; something the Rockets didn’t see at all in three playoff rounds in 2013. The Rockets faced American based Tri City in round one, Seattle in round two and Portland in round three.  Portland followed a similar path facing BC Division Vancouver in round one, Victoria in round two and Kelowna in round three.    
  • Bruce Hamilton would like to get a pro tryout for 21 year-old goaltender Jordon Cooke. He says the CHL Goaltender of the Year deserves a closer look.
  • Word is Cooke has 14 Canadian Universities wanting to obtain his services. Do you think?
  • The NHL Draft at the end of the month should see no less than two Kelowna Rockets players taken and maybe even a third. Justin Kirkland will hear his name called and Rourke Chartier also has a shot of being picked by one of the 30 teams. It will be interesting to see if Tyson Baillie has a team that chooses him when the draft is held in Philadelphia.
  • Nice to see former Kelowna Rockets forward Dylen McKinlay is going to university this fall. Now 22, McKinlay will suit up with the University of Regina Cougars. McKinlay had career high 24 goals and 68 points with the Rockets in 2012-2013.
  • Congratulations to AJ Jakubec for being named the radio play-by-play voice of the CFL expansion Ottawa Redblacks.  AJ was my colour guy on Kelowna Rockets broadcast during the 2000-2001 season. It has been a great six months for the Edmonton resident, who called his first NHL game with the Ottawa Senators in March. I’m thinking AJ better buy a lottery ticket. The dude is on a roll.   
  • I loved LA Kings goaltender Jonathon Quick's comments to reporters after a pre-game skate this morning in advance of game five of the Stanley Cup final.  Quick sounded like Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. Quick's answers were 'quick' and had little to no substance. The more reporters attempted to pry something out of him, the more tight lipped he became. 
  • Darryl Sutter was asked how important the start would be in game five. Check out his answer. "How important is a good start? That's why they put time on the clock always. It starts. That's when it starts. Then you get 30 or 40 seconds of it and then somebody else gets to go. It is not just the start. What does start mean? Does it mean shift?  Does that mean period? Does that mean until the first time out? Does that mean save? Does that mean, o-zone, d-zone or neutral zone? What does it mean? After listening to that, I'm as confused as Sutter is.       

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