Rockets Science

Cal Foote and Kole Lind selected at 2017 NHL Draft

The NHL Draft came and went last weekend with a total of 33 Western Hockey League players selected over seven rounds. A total of seven players were chosen in the first round. The Kelowna Rockets had two players selected at the festivities in Chicago.

Cal Foote and Kole Lind have played in close proximity to each other over the last two seasons as members of the Kelowna Rockets. But that will surely come to an end when the pair moves on to play professional hockey.

At the 2017 NHL Draft, the Tampa Bay Lightning made defenceman Cal Foote their first selection, 14th overall. The next day, the Vancouver Canucks chose forward Kole Lind with their second pick, 33rd overall.

Call it a continental divide of sorts for Foote and Lind – the distance between Tampa Bay and Vancouver. It’s about 2,600 miles in between, the second longest distance between any two NHL cities.

A Foote in the door

Cal Foote, Kelowna Rockets

Foote, now 18, completed his second season in Kelowna, confirming his presence as a valuable performer at both ends of the rink. Including the post-season, the 6’4, 210 pounder has appeared in 174 games, collecting 16 goals, 93 assists and a combined plus-47 rating.

“Today was very exciting but at the same time I was very nervous getting to the rink,” Cal explained about draft day. “The experience was amazing. It was so professional and very fun to be a part of.”

Foote, from Colorado becomes the eighth member of the Rockets to be drafted in the first round. Six of those eight have been defencemen.

“It means a ton to me, I’ve worked my entire life for this moment but I’m excited to get back to work in August with the Rockets,” Cal said when asked what it means to him to be drafted.

Foote is expected back in Kelowna this season where he will join brother Nolan on the Rockets roster. The youngest Foote is not eligible for the NHL Draft until the 2019 edition. The boys are the sons of former NHL defenceman Adam Foote.

Lind a Canuck

For Kole Lind, one more sleep was required before he would hear his name called. And that call certainly did come early.

The Vancouver Canucks selected Lind, the Rockets leading scorer during the regular season, with the 33rd overall pick. Vancouver’s was the second pick of the day on Saturday morning in Chicago.

“Being drafted by Vancouver is awesome,” Lind said. “Staying in Canada is awesome and going to a top notch organization like the Canucks is great. There are no words to describe it. The stars align and your dreams become a reality.”

Lind is coming off a breakout season offensively, notching 30 goals and 57 assists for 87 points in 70 games. He did his best work during the first 50 games of the campaign when the Rockets had a number of veteran forwards either sidelined by injuries or busy with international hockey obligations.

The native of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan enjoyed his time in Chicago.

“The experience was amazing,” he said. “It was obviously tough not to go on the first day, but I was happy to get it over with early this morning and go to a great organization in Vancouver.”

Development camp updates

While Foote and Lind are busy at their NHL team’s respective development camps, a number of other players are also on the ice including Nick Merkley (Arizona), Lucas Johansen (Washington), Devante Stephens (Buffalo), Calvin Thurkauf (Columbus), Dillon Dube (Calgary) Carsen Twarynski (Philadelphia). Foote and Lind of course, along with Twarynski are not yet signed to NHL contracts.

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.