August 25, 2017
by Kevin Bain
Friday morning marked the end of the Kelowna Rockets rookie camp, and the start of main camp.
Since Tuesday morning six teams of rookies have been battling out two games a day with the final game for each team going this morning.
Kelowna’s 6th round selection in the most recent bantam draft, Jake Poole, of McAuley, MB, says it was a week of fun and intensity.
“Overall the camp went really well. It was really well organized, everyone had a lot of fun, and it was really fun going up against these top guys,” Poole said.
“It’s a higher level than what we’re used to.. Everyone is competing every shift, no one is taking a shift off. It was very intense throughout the whole week.”
Goaltender Cole Tisdale, a Rockets 8th round choice in the bantam draft from Lethbridge, AB, enjoyed his first WHL camp as well.
“It went really well. It was really intense, I enjoyed the whole thing. The facility is nice.. Just everything,” Tisdale said. “It was awesome coming here and skating in the rookie camp.”
While the rookies were finishing up their portion of the Rockets training camp, older players were up bright and early for fitness testing for main camp which took place at the Apple Bowl.
Players took part in multiple fitness tests including a timed five kilometre run. Kelowna veteran Kole Lind was the winner of the big running event smashing his five clicks in a time of 19:38.
The testing was followed by registration for main camp at Prospera Place. The group at registration was a combination of returning players, fresh new faces looking to make impressions on coaches, and a few young guns that pushed through the rookie portion into main camp including Poole and Tisdale.
Also included in the list going from rookie camp to main camp is Rockets 2nd round selection in the bantam draft, Ethan Bowen, who had a strong week in camp.
As a second year player, defenceman Konrad Belcourt remembers what it was like coming out of rookie camp and going to main camp. He suggests the kids just relax and be themselves.
“The draft picks are only here for a couple of days so I say just have fun, it’s tons of fun to be here, so just play your heart out and show those scouts and those coaches what you’ve got and what you can bring to the table for the next couple of years,” said Belcourt.
Much like the youngsters, the returning guys are eager to get out on the ice as well. After a busy summer with the NHL Draft followed by Hockey Canada camps, veteran d-man Cal Foote can’t wait to get things started again.
“I’m very excited. It feels really good to be back and see all the old faces and to see all the new faces,” stated Foote. “I’m mostly excited just to get back on the ice and about getting to spend time with all the guys here.”
The boys hit the ice for the first on-ice portion of main camp starting tomorrow morning, Saturday August 26th, at 9:00am.
The schedule for main camp goes as follows:
Kelowna takes the ice as a team for the first time on September 2nd when they host the Victoria Royals at Prospera Place at 7:05pm.