The Kelowna Rockets are set to take on the Victoria Royals on Saturday evening to mark the official start of the Rockets preseason.
For some young players, this may be their first game in the WHL. That can be nerve-racking to say the least. Head Coach Jason Smith says his coaches and veteran players are there to ease those nerves.
“Scrimmaging and competing in practice and battle drills allows you to prepare for the preseason,” said Smith. “I’m sure there will be a lot of nerves and guys feeling things out but we’ll have a good group of enough veterans playing that can help calm them down and keep them relaxed. We’re just going to talk to them about going out and competing and being the player that they are, they don’t need to try and do too much, play a team game, and everything will go fine for them.”
The veterans know what it’s like coming into the league. Rockets d-man James Hilsendager echoed his coach with tips for younger players.
“Just play your role. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. You got yourself here for a reason so keep doing what got you here and keep working,” Hilsendager said. “I’m going to try to lead the younger guys, lead by example and let them learn from me and other vets. I’m just going to tell them to have fun, relax, and enjoy the game.”
Puck drop on Saturday is at 7:05pm.
The Rockets play again on Tuesday, September 5th, at Prospera Place as they host the Kamloops Blazers for game two of preseason.
Tickets are on sale for Saturday night as well as all Rockets preseason games.
Tickets are available for Rockets home games through selectyourtickets.com, at the Prospera Place box office or by phone at 250-762-5050.