Rockets Science

The Kelowna Rockets released some exciting news this week about a core group of players from its 2016-17 roster.

O Canada

Kole Lind, who was selected in the second round, 33rd overall by the Vancouver Canucks at the 2017 NHL Draft, has been invited to the Sport Chek Development Camp in Plymouth, Michigan this summer.

The camp will aid Hockey Canada in its selection process for its entry at the 2018 U20 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York. The tournament begins on December 26, 2017.

Kole Lind

Lind had a breakout season with the Rockets last season, leading the club in scoring with 30 goals and 57 assists in 70 games. He then added six goals and six assists in 17 post season games.

Rockets teammate Dillon Dube (Calgary Flames, 2016) will also attend. Dube was a member of Team Canada at the 2017 WJC.

Defenceman Cal Foote, who was selected in the first round, 14th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2017 NHL Draft, was also invited.

The lengthy list of former Rockets wearing Team Canada colours at the WJC includes Robb Gordon, Brett McLean, Chuck Kobasew, Josh Gorges, Shea Weber, Blake Comeau, Tyler Myers, Jamie Benn, Tyson Barrie, Brandon McMillan, Damon Severson, Madison Bowey, Josh Morrisey, Rourke Chartier and Dillon Dube.

Forward Nolan Foote, who completed his rookie season in the WHL, will attend the Hockey Canada U18 summer camp, hoping to earn a spot with Team Canada for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August.

A pair of young Rockets prospects; goaltender Roman Basran and defenceman Kaedan Korczak have been tabbed by Hockey Canada for the U17 development camp.

Onward & Upward

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced the signing of forward Reid Gardiner to an American Hockey League contract for the 2017-18 season.

Reid Gardiner

“I’m excited for this next step and to be able to play in the AHL again,” Gardiner said in a release provided by the Rockets. “I feel like I’m ready to play pro hockey again and especially with it being in Wilkes-Barre. I’m very excited for what’s to come.”

Though it was short, Gardiner says he enjoyed his time in Kelowna.

“Kelowna prepared me a lot,” he said. “Learning from new coaches and new guys, being able to play deep into the playoffs, and just soaking everything in and seeing how Kelowna operated was very cool.

“It was cool to be a part of. I feel like I improved greatly from my time in Kelowna and they’ve helped me take this next step.”

Gardiner is not unfamiliar with the Penguins organization and its AHL affiliate, having spent the first half of last season with the team. He had three goals and three assists in 23 games before arriving in Kelowna near the WHL trade deadline.

Gardiner appeared in 28 games for the Rockets, scoring 18 goals and 19 assists. He shone during the post-season, collecting 15 goals and 13 assists.

Gardiner, from Humboldt, Saskatchewan, spent the majority of his WHL career as a member of the Prince Albert Raiders. His younger brother Eric completed his rookie campaign with Kelowna last season.

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Glen Erickson

WHL supporter for more than 40 years. Spent the past 11 years in Kelowna, B.C. as WHL Writer for Hockey’s Future, collaborating on prospect rankings, covered two World Junior Championships, four Top Prospects Games, and a handful of Canada/Russia Super Series events. Still feel the sting from my beloved Saskatoon Blades never winning a league title, but enjoyed witnessing the Kelowna Rockets win two WHL championships on home ice. The passion of the players continues to draw me to the rink.