Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Notes, quotes and anecdotes

Cal Foote's father Adam
  • Kelowna Rockets second year defenceman Lucas Johansen will experience something new when the team heads out on an epic 6 game in 9 night Saskatchewan/Manitoba road trip. Johansen has never made the voyage, which the team schedules prior to Christmas every second season. "We are all excited for it. The only thing we are not excited for is the bus trip, which is about 14 hours." Johansen is right. The bus trip from Kelowna to Regina is just shy of 14 hours. Thirteen hours and 50 minutes in fact if you believe Google Maps. The team will make stops in Regina, Brandon, Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert and Saskatoon. When the bus rolls into Saskatoon on December 19th it will have travelled three thousand, 22 kilometers.          
  • The bench mark has been set by the Victoria Royals. The Royals completed an Eastern Division road trip earlier this season going a perfect 6-0-0-0.         
  • It was nice to shake the hand of Michael Barnett the other night in Kelowna. I was surprised to see the father of J.T Barnett at Prospera Place, until I was informed by Michael that he is making a quick stop in the Okanagan as the Rangers make a Western Conference road trip. A common theme with Michael Barnett is a firm handshake, a smile and always positive words.  Barnett is the senior advisor to the President and General Manager of the New York Rangers.
  • Cal Foote will celebrate his 17 year-old birthday in....wait for it.....Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Foote celebrates the milestone on December 13th, a day after his team plays the Wheat Kings in Brandon. If it makes you feel any better 'Footer', I too celebrated my 17th birthday in Swift Currrent.     
  • The Rockets have only three Saskatchewan born players on their roster. With Rourke Chartier trying out for Team Canada, Rodney Southam (Saskatoon), Kole Lind (Shaunavon) and Jordan Borstmayer (St. Brieux) will be waving the Saskatchewan flag proudly. Athletic Therapist Scott Hoyer is from Regina.  
  • The Rockets last made the Saskatchewan/Manitoba road trip in the 2013-2014 season when they went 6-0-0-0. In 2011-2012, the team had a mark of 3-2-1-0 in six games. In 2009-2010, the hockey club was 3-3-0-0. In 2007-2008, the hockey club played only five games (3-2-0-0). 
  • The team's trek to Saskatchewan to play Eastern Division teams hasn't always been scheduled for December. During the 2005-2006 season, the team headed East in October and promptly won all six (6-0-0-0) games.
  • In the 2003-2004 season the team was also undefeated on the trip with 5-0-0-0. The only team they didn't play that season was the Swift Current Broncos.     
  • Things to look forward to on this road trip? A date with the Brandon Wheat Kings in a rematch of last seasons WHL final. Both teams will be short staffed. Four players on the Rockets side won't play because of world junior commitments while the Wheat Kings will be missing three key players.  
  • It will be interesting when the team visits the Prince Albert Raiders in the fifth game of the six game road trip. The two face one another for the first time since Austin Glover, Dalton Yorke and Jesse Lees where traded to the Raiders in two separate deals for Leon Draisaitl, Gage Quinney and Josh Morrissey. It will also be a chance to see former Rockets head coach Marc Habsched, who is guiding the Raiders now.
  • They played together in Kelowna for one season and now they have been reunited in pro hockey. Cole Martin and J.T Barnett are team-mates with the East Coast Hockey League's Atlanta Gladiators.
  • Here are some comments from Adam Foote, the father of Rockets rookie defenceman Cal Foote on why his family chose the Western Hockey League for his two sons. "I wasn't sure which route he was going to take. The WHL is a great development league and we are fortunate for him to be in a great organization and a great city. I grew up playing in the OHL and my dad knew David Branch. We just thought staying out West would be a good fit and they love it". Adam coached Cal for four seasons before making his jump to the Western Hockey League. "I couldn't be happier to see where he is going to develop". Cal Foote could be joined by his younger brother Nolan as early as next season. Nolan was the Rockets first selection on May's WHL bantam draft. "He won't get much love from the NCAA this winter. He definitely wants to be a Rocket", Adam Foote added.  
  • The Rockets have a planned 'social outing' on this road trip. The team plans to head out to Shaunavon, Saskatchewan for a meal put on by Kole Lind and his family. 
  • I've made a connection with Jordan Cooke. I am hoping the Saskatchewan Huskies goaltender will join me in the first intermission (on the radio) of the December 19th game in Saskatoon.

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