|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open a four game home stand tonight when they welcome the Saskatoon Blades to Prospera Place. This is the lone meeting of the season between the two teams. The Rockets traveled to Saskatoon last season (December 19th) and lost 5-3. The Rockets host the Swift Current Broncos tomorrow night before welcoming Everett next Wednesday (October 19th) and Tri City on October 21st. The Rockets enter the weekend with a record of 3-5-0-0, having played six of their first eight games on the road. On a recent five game road trip, the team was able to win twice against Lethbridge (6-3) and Edmonton (1-0). The hockey club is coming off a 5-0 loss in Red Deer Saturday night. The Rockets fired 38 shots at the Rebels net but were shut out for the second time this season. Brodan Salmond took the loss in goal.
Milestone Makers: Forward Riley Stadel will play in his 250th career game tonight vs. the Blades…Nick Merkley has played 185 WHL regular season games….Jake Kryski is 6 games shy of 150 games in his career…Alumni Duncan Kieth enters this NHL season with the Chicago Blackhawks with 833 regular season games played, the most of any active player that wore a Rockets uniform. New Jersey Devils’ Vern Fiddler is next with 818 regular season games played. Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadiens has 763 games under his belt followed by Josh Gorges of the Buffalo Sabres with 683…The Kelowna Rockets have 15 players on opening day rosters in the NHL.
Broadcasters Bits: The Rockets reduced their roster Tuesday by releasing 19 year-old forward Tate Coughlin. Originally listed by the team, Coughlin played 107 games with the Rockets …Kole Lind turns 18 on Sunday…The Rockets were 5-3-0-0 after 8 games last season and 6-3-0-0 after 9 games…Goalie Brodan Salmond celebrated his 18th birthday last Saturday…Sixteen year-old Nolan Foote is one of 66 players participating in the 2016 Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario October 27th to November 5th …The team scored 34 goals after 8 games last season. This season the team has 16 goals after 8 games..The Rockets have acquired 17 year-old forward Leif Mattson from the Brandon Wheat Kings for a 9th round bantam pick. Mattson, from Thompson, Manitoba, was the Wheat Kings 8th round selection in 2014…Nick Merkley is three points shy of 200 for his career…The Rockets lead the WHL in penalty minutes with 175….The Rockets have been shorthanded a league high 54 times….Nine members of the Rockets participated in NHL training camps. Tomas Soustal and Gordie Ballhorn earned tryouts with Edmonton and Dallas respectively. Nick Merkley (Arizona), Lucas Johansen (Washington), Dillon Dube (Calgary), Devante Stephens (Buffalo), Calvin Thurkauf (Columbus), Braydyn Chizen (Minnesota) and Justin Kirkland (Nashville) are all drafted players.
Three Identified by NHLCS: Three members of the Kelowna Rockets have been named to NHL Central Scouting’s ‘Player’s to Watch List’. Defenceman Cal Foote is an ‘A’ prospect. Kole Lind is a ‘B’ prospect while defenceman Jonathan Smart is a ‘C’ prospect. The NHL draft is this June in Chicago. Foote’s father, Adam, was a second round pick of the Quebec Nordiques (22nd overall) in 1989. Adam Foote played his junior hockey with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Smith Guides Team: The Kelowna Rockets made a head coaching change at seasons end. After just one year on the job, Brad Ralph parted ways with the team on May 9th. Then on July 6th, Jason Smith was hired as Brad Ralph’s replacement. Smith is the Rockets fourth coach in the last four years. Smith, who retired September 2, 2009, played 16 seasons in the NHL before joining the coaching staff of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, a role Smith has held for the last four seasons’.
Player total: 24
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Stadel, Herringer, Southam
19’s – 7 Johansen, Merkley, Soustal, Stephens, Wishnowski, Ballhorn
18’s – 7 Dube, Kryski, Lind, Borstmayer, Chizen, Salmond, Thurkauf
17’s - 6 C. Foote, Topping, Bruggen-Cate, Cowell, Smart, Mattson
16’s – 2 N. Foote, Belcourt