Rockets add veteran and rookie coach

The Golden Rockets have announced the addition of two coaches to the staff: Whistler product Grant Isles and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native Chris Opheim.

Isles is a familiar name in B.C. hockey circles. In 2011, at the age of 15, Isles moved to Kelowna to play for the Pursuit of Excellence hockey academy.

After playing for the Comox Valley Glacier Kings in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League for two and a half seasons, Isles was moved to Creston where he finished out his final year and a half of junior hockey playing for the Creston Valley Thundercats.

“[Isles] has gone through the journey that many of our new players are about to embark on, and our veteran group are working towards,” Golden Rockets head coach Jeremy Blumes said. “Adding a young man with his impressive playing resume and background of winning is a slam dunk, we are thrilled to have him aboard.”

Isles served as captain for half a season in Comox as well as an assistant captain in Creston when he was 20 years old. Isles went to the Pacific Junior Hockey League finals with Aldergrove as an affiliate as well as capturing a bronze medal at the Cyclone Taylor Cup with Creston in 2017. Following Isles’ junior career that was marked with winning seasons, Isles committed to the Selkirk College Saints for the 2017/18 season and studied heavy duty mechanics, fulfilling his dream of playing college hockey. Isles is now a resident of Golden.

“I am extremely humbled and excited taking on this position. The biggest aspect that I will be able to bring to the coaching staff is my upbeat vibe and my hard working, take no days off attitude. I love the town of Golden and can’t wait to bring some exciting hockey this season,” he said.

Opheim is coming to the Golden Rockets from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where he has been coaching hockey the past 17 seasons at all levels, from initiation through to midget AA. Opheim was awarded coach of the year by the Aces zone for the 2016/17 season.

As well, Opheim coached in the Northern Saskatchewan Female Hockey league at the bantam and midget levels where he had successful seasons earning him a coach of the year nomination. Opheim has mentored many talented players over the years and has coached at the Indigenous Winter Games, and the Saskatchewan Winter Games.

He has served as a contributor to the Saskatchewan Hockey Association as a leader, evaluator, player developer, and coach and mentor.

Opheim started as an assistant coach in the Pacific Junior Hockey League in the 2008/2009 season with the Saskatoon Westley’s junior B hockey club where he continued with the team until 2013.

Opheim has participated in professional coaches development clinics along with numerous hockey clinics offered through Hockey Canada.

After many years in Saskatchewan, Opheim looks forward to bringing his love and knowledge for the game, as well as his positive hardworking, fun mindset to the Rockets organization.

Along with Opheim’s coaching duties Opheim will serve as a equipment manager, video coach, and power skating specialist.

“Chris has an unbelievable passion for the game and has demonstrated a willingness to help us in a number of areas. Chris has a proven background in coaching as well as other areas while Grant is a young and eager coach that will relate well to our player group. I certainly believe we are adding two tremendous assets to our staff,” Blumes said.

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