Kelowna Rockets held their annual Awards Ceremony at the Kelowna Community Theatre.
2018 Kelowna Rockets Awards winners:
Plus/Minus – Sponsored by GSL Group, and presented by Prospera Place Zamboni Operator Michael Topolniski: Gordie Ballorn, finishing the regular season with a +37 plus/minus rating. Ballhorn finishes his 20-year-old season with a career plus/minus of +71 in 175 regular season games over three seasons played for the Rockets, to go along with his 11 career goals, 49 career assists, and 60 career points. Ballhorn’s offence exploded in his overage campaign with Kelowna setting career highs in all categories, scoring six goals, and adding 36 assists for 42 of his 60 career points in 72 games this season. Ballhorn is also one of only two members of the Rockets roster that played in all 72 games this season.
Scholastic Player of the Year for the player who excelled in academics – Sponsored by the Team Doctors, presented by Dr. Mike Shepherd: Wil Kushniryk
Most Improved – Sponsored by Western Star RJames Management Group, presented by Allie Siegmann: Carsen Twarynski. This season, the power forward from Calgary, AB. more than doubled his goal total and almost doubled his point total from the 2016-17 season. In the 16-17 regular season Twarynski had 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points in 64 games split between the Calgary Hitmen and the Rockets. This season the overage forward found a new gear in his offence setting career highs in goals, assists, and points. The Philadelphia Flyers prospect led Kelowna in goal scoring with 45, while finishing third on the club in points with 72 in 68 games played. Twarynski also led the team in power play goals with 18. He recently signed his first NHL deal, signing a three-year entry-level contract with the Flyers.
Top Scorer – Sponsored by Pushor Mitchell, presented by Joni Metherell: Kole Lind. The Shaunavon, SK. native led the Rockets in points for the second season in a row. This campaign Lind finished with 39 goals and 56 assists for 95 points in 58 games. Lind set career highs in goals and points this season. In 204 career regular season games with the Rockets Lind has notched 83 goals and 141 assists for 224 points. The Vancouver Canucks prospect recently signed his first pro contract, signing a three-year entry-level deal with the Canucks. Lind was also a part of Team WHL in the CIBC Canada/Russia Series scoring two goals and adding an assist in two games played, as well as he took part in Team Canada’s World Junior Selection Camp.
Unsung Hero – Sponsored by Grant Thornton, presented by Bryn Gilbert: Gordie Ballhorn. The Wetaskiwin, AB. native is often touted as a defensive/shut down defender. Not only does Ballhorn excel in the defensive zone, and is counted on in key situations such as the penalty kill, but this season Ballhorn found a new offensive stride, setting career highs in all categories, scoring six goals, and 36 assists for 42 points. The 6’foot 195lb. d-man was a frequently used tool on Kelowna’s power play throughout the 2017-18 regular season. Ballhorn is a leader for the Rockets, wearing an ‘A’ as an Assistant Captain, and is used in all situations.
Top Defensive Forward / Hollis Peirce Award – Donated by Dr. Murray Smith, presented by Rockets President/General Manager Bruce Hamilton: Conner Bruggen-Cate. The 6’1 189lb. forward is counted on in all defensive situations for the Rockets, especially the penalty kill. Playing in 70 games this season, Bruggen-Cate finishes the year with 18 goals, 27 assists, and 45 points, while holding a +10 plus/minus rating.
Top Defenceman – Sponsored by Melcor Lakeside Inc. and presented by Tobi McNeil: Cal Foote. The 6’4, 210lb defenceman from Engelwood, CO. led the Rockets D-core in goals, assists, and points. In 60 games this season, Foote more than doubled his goal total from the previous two seasons combined, scoring 19 goals, while tying a career high in assists with 51, to set himself a new career high in points with 70. Not only has Foote been a staple on the Rockets power play, but he is also counted on in all other situations including the penalty kill. While logging huge minutes on the Rockets blue line, the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect finished with an impressive +31 plus/minus rating.
Most Sportsmanlike – Sponsored by Popeye’s Kelowna, presented by Marlene Trelenberg: Leif Mattson. The 6’foot 200lb forward plays a classy game for the Kelowna Rockets. In 63 games this season, Mattson recorded only 22 penalty minutes, while playing a regular role in the Rockets lineup. He played both power play and penalty kill, scoring five power play markers, and tying for the team lead in shorthanded goals with four. The second year forward had a breakout year offensively, scoring 25 goals and adding 35 assists for 60 points. He also added a +16 plus/minus rating. Mattson was classy both on and off ice for the Rockets, taking part in many of the school visits, and team events.
Rookie of the Year – Sponsored by CapriCMW, presented by Ev Rea: Kaedan Korczak. The 6’foot, 170lb defenceman from Yorton, SK. had a fantastic rookie season for Kelowna. The offensively talented D-man progressively got better as the season wore on, and as he got more comfortable in the Western Hockey League. In 63 games this season, the first round selection, 11th overall in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft scored three goals and added 13 assists for 16 points. The 17-year-old also finished with a +4 plus/minus rating and 44 penalty minutes. Korczak was also a member of Team Canada Black at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge.
Humanitarian – Sponsored by the Hamilton family, presented by Anne-Marie Hamilton: Gordie Ballhorn/Carsen Twarynski. The pair of overage players were at virtually every event that the Rockets had this season. From school visits every week, to street hockey events, to delivering teddy bears to hospital patients, these two leaders displayed true class and character in the community. All season they demonstrated how a player should model himself in the community to be a member of the Kelowna Rockets.
Most Valuable Player – Sponsored by MacDermott’s Mens Wear, presented by Noel Anderson: Cal Foote. The defensive all-star’s 70 points not only led the Rockets defence, but was sixth in league scoring for defenceman. His 19 goals were first in team scoring for defenceman, and sixth most on the Rockets roster. He was also 4th in league goal scoring by defenceman. Foote logged massive minutes for the Rockets all season, excelling in every situation. Named the 23rd Captain in team history, Cal Foote exemplified nothing but stellar play all season. Not only did he excel for Kelowna, Foote was also a part of Team WHL in the CIBC Canada/Russia Series. He was also a part of Team Canada at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship recording three assists in seven games. He took home a gold medal with Team Canada.
President’s Award – Sponsored by the Kelowna Rockets, presented by Rockets President/General Manager Bruce Hamilton: Dillon Dube. The President’s Award is a new award meant to recognize outstanding and significant accomplishments. The award won’t be presented each year. Dube is the first to receive the award as he is the first Kelowna Rockets player ever to earn a spot on the Canadian World Junior roster in back-to-back seasons. A season after coming home with a silver medal and finishing the tournament with three assists in seven games in 2017 for Team Canada, he became the first ever player of the Kelowna Rockets to Captain Team Canada at the World Juniors. He captained that team to a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. He had three goals and two assists in seven games as the Captain. Dube was also the Captain of Team WHL in the CIBC Canada/Russia Series in which he tied a WHL record for points in the series with five in two games(2G, 3A). He was named the Player of the Game in game two of that series. The Cochrane, AB native was drafted 56th overall by the Calgary Flames in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, and last season he signed his first pro contract, signing a three-year entry-level contract with the Flames. In four seasons with the Rockets Dube has made four straight appearances in Western Conference final. He was a part of the Championship Rockets team that won the Ed Chynoweth Cup in 2015, and is the only remaining member. Dube finished second on the Rockets in scoring with 38 goals and 46 assists for 84 points in 53 games. Used in every situation, Dube tied for the team lead in game winning goals with seven. In the final game of the regular season, Dube scored his 100th and 101st career WHL goals en route to an 8-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. In 203 career games, Dube has 101 goals and 131 assists for 232 points.
The Rockets now embark on their 2018 WHL Playoff journey starting on Thursday, March 22nd at Prospera Place for game one against the Tri-City Americans.
The full first round schedule is as follows:
|Game 1||Tri-City||@||Kelowna||Thursday, March 22||7:05|
|Game 2||Tri-City||@||Kelowna||Saturday, March 24||7:05|
|Game 3||Kelowna||@||Tri-City||Wednesday, March 28||7:05|
|Game 4||Kelowna||@||Tri-City||Thursday, March 29||7:05|
|Game 5 *||Tri-City||@||Kelowna||Saturday, March 31||7:05|
|Game 6 *||Kelowna||@||Tri-City||Sunday, April 1||5:05|
|Game 7 *||Tri-City||@||Kelowna||Tuesday, April 3||7:05|