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Kelowna Rockets

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Kelowna Rockets
Kelowna Rockets logo
City: Kelowna, British Columbia
League: Western Hockey League
Conference: Western
Division: B.C.
Founded: 1991 (1991)
Home Arena: Prospera Place
Colours: Teal, Red, Copper, Black, White
                        
Head Coach: Jason Smith
General Manager: Flag of Canada Bruce Hamilton
Franchise history
1991–95: Tacoma Rockets
1995–present: Kelowna Rockets

The Kelowna Rockets are a major junior ice hockey team based in Kelowna, British Columbia. The Rockets play in the Western Hockey League (WHL), out of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). They play their home games at Prospera Place.[1]

From 2002 to 2009, Kelowna competed in the Memorial Cup tournament a record four times,[2] the most of any other CHL team in a seven-year span. The Rockets captured the Memorial Cup for the first time in franchise history in 2004, the same year they were selected to host the event. In 2015, the Rockets returned to the Memorial Cup a fifth time, losing to the Oshawa Generals in the championship final.

Franchise history Edit

Established in 1991, the team started out as the Tacoma Rockets, previously playing in Tacoma, Washington, and playing their home games at the Tacoma Dome. Prior to the 1995–96 season, the team relocated to Kelowna, playing their home games at the city's Memorial Arena. Following the 1998–99 season, they moved into their then-new home arena, Skyreach Place. Their logo pays tribute to the famed Ogopogo monster, of the Okanagan Lake.

1991–94: Early years Edit

See also: Tacoma Rockets
Tacoma Rockets urban art (cropped)

Former Tacoma Rockets logo. Used 1991–94.

The 1991–92 season marks the first season of the Rockets in Tacoma, Washington. Playing in one of North America's largest hockey arenas, the Tacoma Dome, the expansion Rockets blasted their way to one of the most memorable inaugural seasons in the 25 year history of the Western Hockey League. Attendance of 14,975 and 15,240 at two heated contests against their then arch rival, the Seattle Thunderbirds, assisted the Rockets in chalking up the highest per game average for a first year expansion team under the Canadian Hockey League umbrella.

In 1992–93, the Rockets startled everyone in the league by winning 24 straight home games for an all-time Western Hockey League record. Tacoma held first place in the West Division for three months and finished with a promising 45–27–0. In addition to the winning streak, the Rockets home record of 36–6–0 and collecting 37 more points than the previous year, proved them serious contenders in the WHL. Once again the Rockets attendance of 13,769 saw them defeat the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-2 in win number 24 and marked the third largest crowd in the history of the WHL. Three Rockets won best in the WHL West. Goaltender, Jeff Calvert – Most Valuable Player; Michal Sykora – Most Valuable Player; and Jamie Black selected as Most Sportsmanlike Player.

The 1993–94 season marks the year of transition for the Rockets, with the graduation of high scoring veteran Allan Egeland, solid forward, Trever Fraser and netminder, Jeff Calvert. The Rockets's third season also brought forward some of the league's best rookies and a phenomenal base of nine NHL drafted players. Six alone were selected in 1994, bringing the total to thirteen Rockets drafted in three seasons. Rockets finished third in the West with a 33–34–5 record.

With a strong finish in the 1993–94 season, the Rockets strove to compete at a higher level of excellence. They launched their third season boasting size in defense and the strength of nine NHL draft picks. Adding the skill and talent of one of Europe's top young forwards, Vaclav Varada who slotted 50 points and tied the team's rookie scoring record. Todd MacDonald, 1993 Florida Panthers draft choice, became the team's top goalie, nominated for the best in the West award. Veteran Dallas Thompson became team Captain. This combination brought the Rockets to a second place finish in the West.

1995–2004: New ownership Edit

The 1995–96 season brought significant change to the entire Rockets organization: not only the loss of defenceman Alexander Alexeev and Captain Dallas Thompson due to age, but the decision to bring the Rockets to Kelowna, British Columbia. After long deliberation and consideration for the City of Tacoma and the many dedicated fans who supported the Rockets, the 22,000-seat Tacoma Dome was no longer a long-term viable home for the Rockets. Key dates became more difficult to secure, leaving the Rockets in search of home ice for play-offs at the end of each regular season. No future of change for the poor sight lines in the arena brought the Rockets organization to the conclusion the team needed to be moved. There were several viable choices prospected. Kelowna's rich history in hockey and the prospect of a new arena made Kelowna the natural choice Since the move to Kelowna, the Rockets are right at home in their beautiful new city. They have been accepted by the community with open arms and strong local support. With that brings the talent of first-round NHL draft pick Kyle McLaren and fifth-round pick Dale Purinton and the hometown talents of Jason Deleurme, Ronny Grimmard and Trevor Lornson.

2004: Memorial Cup Champions Edit

Main article: 2004 Memorial Cup

Kelowna went to three straight Memorial Cup tournaments in the years 2003, 2004 and 2005. They won the Memorial Cup for the first time in franchise history in 2004, coincidentally the same year they were selected to host the event.

Fans lined up outside Prospera Place for hours to witness the 2-1 victory for the Kelowna Rockets in the championship game at the MasterCard Memorial Cup. Every game of the tournament was sold out and an enthusiastic host city cheered wildly as their home team claimed their first Memorial Cup victory. The Rockets are the first team since the Ottawa 67's in 1999 to win the Memorial Cup on home ice and the victory marks the first time the host team has gone undefeated in the tournament.

Justin Keller scored the game winning goal late in the third period as the host Kelowna Rockets won their first ever MasterCard Memorial Cup by defeating the QMJHL Champion Gatineau Olympiques. Despite numerous chances on both ends of the ice through the first two periods of play, neither team could find the back of the net until the third. With six and a half minutes gone in the third and Gatineau on the power-play, Jean Michel Daoust slapped a pass to Guillaume Fournier, who tipped it past Kelly Guard for his first of the tournament. Less than four minutes later, Kelowna tied things up after a rebound from a Brett Palin slap shot went straight to Randall Gelech who chipped it in past Gatineau goaltender David Tremblay for his third of the tournament. Kelowna had a chance to take the lead just seconds later but found the post instead.

With 13:38 left to play in the period, Keller streaked in from the right side and tucked the puck between the pads of Tremblay, bringing the largest-ever crowd to attend Kelowna's Prospera Place to their feet. The Canadian Hockey League was proud to announce more than 1.2 million viewers tuned in to Rogers Sportsnet and RDS coverage of the championship tournament, including 410,000 for the final game when the Kelowna Rockets defeated the Gatineau Olympiques to win the 2004 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

2009: Return to the Cup Edit

Main article: 2009 Memorial Cup

For the fourth time in seven years,[2] the Kelowna Rockets would play in a Memorial Cup tournament. They previously captured their first Memorial Cup while hosting the event in 2004. Kelowna also competed in the tournament as WHL Champions in 2003 and 2005. During the 2009 WHL playoffs, Kelowna captured the Ed Chynoweth Cup with a 4–2 WHL Championship series win over the Calgary Hitmen.

With this series win, the Rockets claimed a spot in the 2009 Memorial Cup tournament, which was hosted in Rimouski, Quebec. In the early stages of the tournament, Kelowna had great success, clinching a spot in the Final. Seeking to find their franchise's second cup title in five years, the Rockets just could not convert a win, and as a result, the Windsor Spitfires went on as 2009 Memorial Cup Champions.

2015: Return to the Cup 2 Edit

Further information: 2015 Memorial Cup

After five years of failing to qualify for the Memorial Cup, the Rockets broke the slump in 2015 after defeating the Brandon Wheat Kings 4–0 in the WHL finals. They went on to record one win and two losses in the tournament, clinching a spot in the tournament semi-finals. The Rockets then routed the Quebec Remparts 9–3 in the semi-finals, setting-up a game against the Oshawa Generals. Kelowna and Oshawa played hard and forced an overtime. Kelowna then lost the game when Anthony Cirelli, only 1 minute 28 seconds into overtime, banged in a rebound from Carlisle against Jackson Whistle.

Team uniforms Edit

Kelowna Rockets jerseys

Current uniforms.

Kelowna Rockets logo (1995—98)

Logo used from 1995–98

Since 2000, their uniforms have featured a logo resembling the legendary Okanagan Lake monster, Ogopogo. Their current third jersey features the monsters head, taken from their shoulder patch design. The team's colours are jaguar teal, athletic red, copper gold, orange sun, black, and white. In 1998, their team jerseys changed from their traditional "Rockets" logo, to more localized jerseys.

Season-by-season recordEdit

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Season GP W L T OTL GF GA Points Finish Playoffs
1995–96 72 35 33 4 338 309 74 4th West Lost Western Conference quarter-final
1996–97 72 35 35 2 298 314 72 4th West Lost Western Conference quarter-final
1997–98 72 33 35 4 234 253 70 5th West Lost Western Conference quarter-final
1998–99 72 25 42 5 224 282 55 6th West Lost Western Conference quarter-final
1999–00 72 25 40 4 3 193 228 57 5th West Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2000–01 72 37 23 7 5 259 240 86 1st West Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2001–02 72 31 26 10 5 257 232 77 4th B.C. Lost Western Conference final
2002–03 72 51 14 6 1 311 164 109 1st B.C. Won Championship; Lost Memorial Cup
2003–04 72 47 21 4 0 185 125 98 1st B.C. Lost Western Conference final; Won Memorial Cup
2004–05 72 45 13 12 2 215 139 104 2nd B.C. Won Championship; Lost Memorial Cup
Season GP W L OTL SOL GF GA Points Finish Playoffs
2005–06 72 46 22 1 3 243 188 96 2nd B.C. Lost Western Conference semi-final
2006–07 72 22 41 5 2 156 245 53 5th B.C. Out of playoffs
2007–08 72 38 26 2 6 248 215 84 2nd B.C. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2008–09 72 47 21 1 3 267 178 98 2nd B.C. Won Championship; Lost Memorial Cup
2009–10 72 35 31 2 4 224 225 76 2nd B.C. Lost Western Conference semi-final
2010–11 72 43 28 0 1 240 201 87 1st B.C. Lost Western Conference semi-final
2011–12 72 31 31 4 6 217 242 72 3rd B.C. Lost Western Conference quarter-final
2012–13 72 52 16 3 1 309 178 108 1st B.C. Lost Western Conference semi-final
2013–14 72 57 11 0 4 310 182 118 1st B.C. Lost Western Conference final
2014–15 72 53 13 5 1 305 183 112 1st B.C. Won Championship; Lost Memorial Cup final
2015–16 72 48 20 4 0 269 218 100 2nd B.C. Lost Western Conference final

Team records Edit

Team records for a single season
Statistic Total Season
Most points 118 2013–14
Most wins 57 2013–14
Most goals for 338 1995–96
Least goals for 156 2006–07
Least goals against 125 2003–04
Most goals against 314 1996–97
Individual player records for a single season[3]
Statistic Player Total Season
Most goalsJohn Varga601993–94
Most assistsAllan Egeland761993–94
Most pointsAllan Egeland1231993–94
Most points, rookieShane McColgan692009–10[citation needed]
Most points, defencemanBurt Henderson741995–96[citation needed]
Best GAA (goalie)Kelly Guard1.562003–04
Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played



NHL alumni Edit


Franchise scoring leaders Edit

These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed WHL regular season.

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game

Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
Brett McLean C 308 166 209 375 1.22
John Varga LW 254 154 179 333 1.31
Jason Deleurme RW 341 141 172 313 .92
Allan Egeland C 213 138 172 310 1.46
Marty Flichel RW 269 101 200 301 1.12
Kiel McLeod C 290 123 138 261 .90
Ryan Wade C/RW 303 124 131 255 .84
Tyler Mosienko C 338 81 151 232 .69
Tyson Barrie D 256 51 177 228 .89
Colin Long C 229 76 147 223 .97
Updated at the completion of the 2014–15 season


Individual records Edit

Career
Season
  • Most goals in a season: John Varga, 60 (1993–94)
  • Most assists in a season: Marty Flichel, 79 (1995–96)
  • Most points in a season:
  • Most penalty minutes in a season:
  • Most points in a season, defenceman:
  • Most points in a season, rookie:
  • Most wins in a season:
  • Most goals in a season, defenceman:
Post-season
  • Most goals in a post-season:
  • Most assists in a post-season:
  • Most points in a post-season:

See also Edit

Notes Edit

  1. Select Your Tickets > Kelowna Rockets. SelectYourTickets.com. Retrieved on 2009-11-27.
  2. 2.0 2.1 WHL Champion Kelowna Rockets set sights on Memorial Cup. WHL (2009-05-13). Archived from the original on 2010-01-05. Retrieved on 2010-01-05.
  3. in Flett, Cory and Watts, Jessie: 2009–10 WHL Guide. Western Hockey League, 65. 

References Edit

External links Edit

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