Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Rookie d-man is the real deal

Rockets scout Bob Fawcett
  • Fifteen year-old defenceman Kaedan Korczak is the real deal. I saw it for myself this morning during day two of on-ice sessions as rookie camp continues at Prospera Place. A first round bantam pick in May's draft, the Yorkton resident clearly stands out from the rest of the 80 hopefuls. Korczak is big, but what really stands out is his poise with the puck. Korczak, when pressured, is able to buy time with his skating ability before finding an open forward. Korczak, who is expected to get in no less than one WHL pre-season game, especially stood out when the two teams on the ice were playing three-on-three. Director of Player Personnel Lorne Frey has openly suggested that Korczak could make the team now as an underage player. I will wait judgment until I see him participate with the veterans at main camp, but I'm betting that Frey is right on the money when assessing Korczak's development.
  • I had a chance to speak for the first time with 15 year-old goaltender Roman Basran. A third round bantam pick in 2016, Basran is a big goaltender that could be 'guardian of the goal' for years to come. While soft spoken, the Delta, BC resident is driven when asked about his aspirations of playing in the WHL in the future. Basran told me he wants to make the team as a 16 year-old next season. I love that response. Wearing Kelowna Rockets colours as a 16 year-old goaltender is something we haven't seen in these parts since Josh Lepp was a back up to Jason Stone in 2001. Stone would eventually be traded to the Red Deer Rebels in the Carson Germyn deal for netminder Shane Bendera.   
  • The difference in size between one player and the next at rookie camp is always amazing. The smallest player is Kieran Thiessen at 5'6, 112 pounds followed by Brett Rylance at 5'5 and 120 pounds. The biggest is Cayde Augustine at 5'11, 212. Augustine is only 14. 
  •  Junior hockey scouts definitely don't chose their profession for the money. They do it simply for the love of the game. Bob Fawcett is a good example in his 17th year as a scout with the Kelowna Rockets. The Saskatoon resident has high praise for Lorne Frey, who has been the teams director of player personnel since its inception in 1991. Fawcett calls Frey, 'The best in the business'. Fawcett is spending the week in Kelowna, attending Rockets rookie camp.
  • Where do I watch rookie camp? Typically on the other side of the arena away from the parents. I just find it much easier to concentrate. 
  • In the morning ice session, veteran defencemen Gordie Ballhorn and Lucas Johansen were the officials on the ice. 
  • Several nice hits in the early morning session as the players become more comfortable and the intensity and animosity increased.

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