Brett Bulmer played three seasons with the Kelowna Rockets, starting out as a 17 year old during the 2009-10 campaign. During his rookie season, Bulmer played in 60 games, while posting 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 points. Bulmer’s best season came in 2011-12 where he posted career high’s in goals, with 31 and points with 62 in 53 games. Bulmer was two points behind scoring leader Shane McColgan, while playing in 17 less games and was one of the 40 players invited to Canada’s World Junior Selection Camp that winter. We caught up with Brett, who is currently playing in the Finnish SM-Liiga with Ilves Tampere about his time as a Rocket and plans after hockey.
KR: Brett, you were taken in the 11th round of the WHL bantam draft in 2007. What was it like for you to move away from your home in Prince George to Kelowna?
BB: Moving away from home at a young age can be hard for any teenager and the parents, but for me it was an easy transition, staying in my home province of BC, knowing my parents could drive down and see me at anytime and also going back to play a couple times a year in Prince George to play in front of friends and family. I owe a lot to Matt and Terry Murray who were my billets for my whole career in Kelowna. They treated me like their own and did everything for me to make it feel like home. I consider them family and still talk and see them all the time.
KR: Now you played for 3 seasons for the Rockets, what was that experience like for you? How did the city of Kelowna and the Rockets organization not only help shape you as a hockey player, but a person as well?
BB: Playing my whole junior career in such a great city like Kelowna with passionate fans and putting on that jersey and playing for that logo was very special to me. I took giant steps in becoming a better person and player everyday. It’s a first class organization surrounded by great people with a winning culture. The importance of the way you carry yourself and your character: in the community, at school and as a good teammate before any on ice success really shapes an amazing place to be. Some of my best memories and friends to this day are from my time with the Rockets. Being part of an alumni that we have and to be able to come back and see everyone is something I’m proud to represent. Bruce Hamilton, Lorne Frey and the coaching staff allowed me the opportunity to reach my goals and I am very thankful for all the time and hard work they put in to me.
KR: Now can you tell me a little bit about your NHL draft experience? You went in the 2nd round to Minnesota in 2010. Do you have any funny stories? Did it live up to what you’ve always dreamed about?
BB: Getting drafted to the NHL was something I dreamed about and worked for from the time I was very young and throughout junior hockey. I owe a lot to the people that helped me reach that goal especially my parents and 2 brothers I would be no where without them. Going to Minnesota for training camps and hoping to play there was an exciting time. A funny story I can share was before the season we were doing team building exercises and one of them was a day of paintballing and working together, I was the youngest guy on the team so every time we were close to a base or enemy, the guys would send me out first to make sure the area was clear. I would jump out and take bullets from head to toe. I guess being the rookie had its duties and it was pretty funny.
KR: And your first NHL game? What do you remember about that night?
My first NHL game was a home game against Columbus, my parents were able to come to the game and share that with me. Playing in front of that many people and with and against the best players in the world was what I dreamt about everyday growing up. I’ll Remember the feeling I felt during the anthems and my first shifts and cherish those moments.
KR: You are currently playing in Finland with Ilves Tampere of the SM-liiga. What is the biggest difference playing overseas in Finland compared to here in North America?
BB: I came over to play in Europe this year and it has been a good experience and a fun time for me. It is different from what I am used to forsure, the languages, food and way of living that sort of stuff has been the biggest difference for me. As far as hockey there are a lot of good players and good leagues here and it is competitive every game. The different style of play and systems are something you have to adjust to. I’m trying to get better and develop my game all the time and playing in Europe has been only positive for that.
KR: What does life after hockey have in store for Brett Bulmer?
BB: For me life after hockey is probably the hardest question I’m asked and sometimes you think about that but I am still trying to decide and figure that out. I’m sure days down the road when it’s closer I will know. But for now I am enjoying the ride of doing what I love each day and making the most of it. Thank you to the Hamilton family, my teammates, Rockets fans and everyone who supported me along the way. My days playing in Kelowna I will cherish for a lifetime.
Good luck to the boys the rest of the season!