It may be the off-season for the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, but the Golden Rockets are in full recruitment mode.
Head Coach Ty Davidson, and the rest of the Rockets staff, were in Kamloops a few weeks back for the team’s spring camp.
“Spring camp in Kamloops went really well. It exceeded all our expectations,” said Davidson. “It’s the first one we’ve ever done and we had about 56 kids.”
Very few of the 56 kids will ever see ice time in Golden. Sixteen players from last year’s roster will be returning for the 2012/2013 season. Davidson expects that five or six guys from spring camp will make the team.
“I think the one thing we lacked last year, and a lot of people in Golden would agree, and that’s toughness and grit. That was a real priority for us in this off-season,” said Davidson. And that has been his number one priority while recruiting in the off-season.
He is hoping that new recruit Carter Cochran from Kamloops, younger brother of former Rocket Tanner Cochran, will help fill that gap.
“He’s a very highly touted young defenceman… He was very sought-after, and I was very fortunate to get him,” said Davidson.
Also expected to put on a Rockets uniform this season, provided he doesn’t make a Junior A team, is 6 foot 2 forward Felix Larouche.
“He is going to add some size and grit up front,” said Davidson.
Last season the Rockets were knocked out of the playoffs after only four games in the first round. Davidson is confident that won’t happen again.
“I’m expecting huge things with this returning group here. I think we’ve got four solid lines up front, we’ve got a great group of guys on the back end. And Cole Henson coming back in net, I think will arguably be one of the best goaltenders in the league,” he said. “My vision is to win a KIJHL Championship, not just make it past the first round.”
That vision is shared by team president Curt Thorne, who took on that position at the beginning of last season. It was a change that Davidson, now in his third year in Golden, says has made a significant difference with the team.
“I think Curt and I are on the same page now, and it should make for some really entertaining hockey for the folks of Golden this year.”