The Golden Rockets will graduate a number of key pieces to Junior A heading into 2019-2020.
Their time in 2018-19 Rockets lineup has paid off for at least 4 team members with even more heading to Jr. A main camps, the number of Rockets advancing could balloon to as many as eight. Not a single player committed from the Rockets thus far played more than 3 games at the Midget AAA level the year prior and for Head Coach and GM Jeremy Blumes and his staff, the rapid development of previously overlooked players may be the most impressive part of what has transpired over the past 12 months.
The vast majority of last year's roster was made up of players retained from Rockets main camp and exhibition (as opposed to signed or traded for midseason). That group includes the 4 commitments up to this point, making August's main camp a huge opportunity for fresh faces to make a name for themselves once again. Details on the camp and registration are at the bottom of this page.
For now, though, we'll stick to recapping the Rockets advancing to the next level:
Jaden Callan, Defenseman
Jaden's first appearances in a Rockets uniform was at the 2018 Rockets Showcase in Calgary, Alberta. His performance led to an immediate commitment offer, and Callan parlayed that offer into one of the most impressive rookie seasons by a defenseman in team history.
The strong-skating blueliner began the season as a lanky, fresh-faced defender out of Midget AA; by mid-November he was putting the finishing touches on a 2 week stretch where he put up a ridiculous 9 points in just 6 games. Callan's combination of skating, strength, and smarts allowed coach Blumes to work him quickly into a role as a big-minutes, all-situations defenseman. Melfort took quick notice of the minute-munching D-man and promptly announced his commitment in April after another fantastic camp showing by Jaden, this time at the Mustangs' Spring camp.
Bryce Trimmer, Forward
Bryce began his season with the Rockets fighting for his first goal, which didn't come until his 6th game in the lineup. He finished the month of February going better than a point per game from a perch within the top 6 and sitting 3rd in team scoring.
The meat and potatoes forward started the year needing to fight to maintain his spot in the lineup on a consistent basis, and as it turns out never relinquished it once he had it. Trimmer's in-season progression from a rookie trying to make an impact on a daily basis into a regular in the top 6 and the power play came as a result of strong board work, a simple but effective game on the offensive cycle and a lot of sheer effort. La Ronge offered Trimmer a commitment in May.
Riley Egan, Forward
The Edmonton, Alberta native is another Rockets player who made his first appearance with the Rockets at the Calgary showcase in 2018. Egan turned that performance into a main camp shot with the Rockets and worked his way up the lineup, ending his season as one of the team's top scorers.
The playmaking forward was an impact player offensively for the Rockets right out of the gate, averaging an assist a game through mid-October. By the midway mark of the season, Riley had also polished his scoring touch and two-way game to make him a more multi-faceted threat alongside his linemates Trimmer and Dominic Turner. Riley's value to coach Blumes and the team lay in his consistent production; he only had 3 point droughts longer than 2 games and he never went more than 4 games without hitting the scoresheet. His development over the season was parlayed into a commitment offer from the Yorkton Terriers in June.
Ryan Baker, Goaltender
Unlike his fellow commitments, 2000-born goalie Ryan Baker had a season's worth of Jr. A experience before he ever put on a Rockets jersey. Like his fellow teammates though, Ryan came into the year having to prove himself all over again. Baker made the perennial contenders Brooks Bandits as a rookie out of the Calgary Royals Gold Midget AA squad, but as the backup to incumbent and All-Star Mitchell Benson, Baker was only able to get into 2 games over the entirety of his 2017-18 AJHL season.
All Ryan did after joining the Rockets was grab onto the starting position and refuse to relinquish it throughout the entirety of the season. Baker finished his year making the most appearances he's ever made in a single season with 35 (3rd-most in the KIJHL), finishing 9th in the league in wins with 16. It was the largest number of appearances for a Rockets netminder in 5 years, and the most wins in a season by a Rockets netminder since 2013. Ryan's consistently strong play led to him joining teammate Bryce Trimmer in committing to the La Ronge Ice Wolves following a stellar performance at the Stix showcase in June.
While the Rockets are thrilled with these player advancements all of the Rockets players experienced a tremendous amount of growth both on and off the ice. Rockets players served as assistant coaches with Golden Minor Hockey, volunteer at the food bank, little mittens animal shelter, the seniors centre, and read one on one with an elementary aged student in Golden schools once a week as a part of the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) program. All of these activities help the players personal development which also leads to vocational and educational opportunities in the players future.
The Golden Rockets have finalized the details of their main camp and preseason schedule, as well as the opening of main camp registration for prospective Rockets.
The Rockets preseason will begin with their inaugural Season Kick-off Golf Tournament August 22nd, 2019. Following a great day of golf, main camp sessions will begin Friday afternoon on August 23rd to August 25th; sessions include dryland fitness testing, an information session, practice, interviews, and multiple intrasquad games with officials.
The Golden Rockets' main camp is invite-only; prospective registrants who are interested may contact Head Coach & GM Jeremy Blumes via email email@example.com.