Sunday, March 19, 2017

Thurkauf makes Rockets history

Regan Bartel photo
  • Calvin Thurkauf is the first European born player to be named the Kelowna Rockets Most Valuable Player. The 19 year-old from Switzerland took home the top honour at the teams' annual year-end awards banquet Sunday at the Kelowna Community Theatre. Thurkauf, who is also a Canadian citizen considering his father was born in Vancouver before moving overseas, had 33 goals this season and 70 points in 60 games. Thurkauf not only led his team in goal scoring, but he represented his country for a second consecutive season at the World Junior Hockey Championships. Suggested as the most 'pro ready' by the Rockets coaching staff, Thurkauf signed an NHL contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 30th. The power forward has had success playing on a line this season with Nick Merkley and overager Reid Gardiner, producing 19 multiple point games. It is safe to say that Thurkauf is the best European forward the team has ever selected in the CHL Import Draft. You can argue he is the best ever, but it is hard to ignore Slovakian defenceman Tomas Slovak who was chosen by the team 4th overall in the 2001 CHL Import Draft. Slovak, for those who can't remember, had 18 goals and 71 points in 65 games during the 2002 season. 

  •  Award winners came as follows:

    Most Sportsmanlike, sponsored by Popeye's Kelowna, presented by Jeff MacIssac: Lucas Johansen (39 penalty minutes in 68 games)

    Scholastic Player, sponsored by the Team Doctors, presented by Dr. Mike Bobyn: Konrad Belcourt

    Top Defenceman, sponsored by Blue Sky at Black Mountain and Black Mountain Golf Course, presented by Tobi McNeil: Cal Foote

    Most Improved, sponsored by Western Star RJames Management Group, presented by Jim Siegmann: Kole Lind (last season 70 games played and contributed 14 goals, 27 assists, for 41 points, he had a 46 point increase this season)

    Top Scorer, sponsored by Pushor Mitchell, presented by Patrick Bobyn: Kole Lind (30 goals, 57 assists, 87 points, 70 games played)

    Rookie of the Year, sponsored by Capri Insurance, presented by Glen Rea: Nolan Foote (19 goals, 16 assists, 35 points, 52 games played)

    Humanitarian, sponsored by the Hamilton family, presented by Anne-Marie Hamilton: Nick Merkley

    Unsung Hero, sponsored by Grant Thornton, presented by Andrew Ingenhorst: Devante Stephens (led defence with 13 goals)

    Plus Minus, sponsored by GSL Group, presented by Dan Fogarty: Cal Foote (+39)

    Top Defensive Forward / Hollis Peirce Award, donated by Dr. Murray Smith, presented by Bruce Hamilton: Rodney Southam

    Most Valuable Player, sponsored by MacDermott's Mens Wear, presented by Noel Anderson: Calvin Thurkauf (led team with 33 goals in 60 games)

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