The Kelowna Rockets held their annual Awards Ceremony earlier today at the Kelowna Community Theatre.
2019 Kelowna Rockets Awards winners:
Plus/Minus – Sponsored by GSL Group, and presented by Prospera Place Zamboni Operator Michael Topolniski:Kyle Topping, finishing the regular season with a +10 plus/minus rating
The Rockets Assistant Captain finished the season with +10 plus/minus rating. He had 23 goals and 46 assists for 69 points in 68 games.
The Salt Spring Island, BC product was drafted by the Rockets in the 11th round (220 overall) at the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft. Topping has suited up in 193 games with the Rockets over three seasons, during that time he has 163 points (59G, 104A), 163 penalty minutes and a +35 plus/minus rating.
Scholastic Player of the Year for the player who excelled in academics – Sponsored by the Team Doctors, presented by Darren Wishlow: Kyle Crosbie
It’s no surprise that the rookie forward was awarded the Scholastic Player of the Year award, Crosbie was named the Rockets Academic Spotlight player earlier this season. At the time Darren Wishlow, Education Advisor for the Rockets said that Crosbie was thriving in Grade 12 English and Pre-Calculus, as well as Physical Education and Strength & Conditioning at Kelowna Secondary School.
“Kyle is a very well-rounded individual who capitalizes on situations that are made available to him, such as tutors and extra help made available by teachers,” said Wishlow.
In 63 games this season, Crosbie recorded eleven points (7G, 4A).
Most Improved – Sponsored by Western Star RJames Management Group, presented by Allie Siegmann: Mark Liwiski
The rookie forward was acquired in a trade from the Everett Silvertips last June. The Dauphin, MB product steadily improved as the season wore on, in the first 43 games of the season the Liwiski had seven points (3G, 4A). As injuries occurred the coaching staff looked to Liwiski, he stepped up to the plate putting up 10 points (7G, 2A) in the final 17 games of the season.
Top Scorer – Sponsored by Pushor Mitchell, presented by Patrick Bobyn: Kyle Topping finishing the regular season with 69 points
The Rockets forward finished the campaign with 23 goals and 46 assists for 69 points in 68 games. Topping set career highs in goals, assists and points this season. In 193 games played with the Rockets over the last three seasons, Topping has recorded 59 goals and 104 assists. The Salt Spring Island, BC productis a leader for the Rockets, wearing an ‘A’ as an Assistant Captain.
Topping is ranked 195th on Central Scouting’s midterm rankings for North American skaters for the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft.
Unsung Hero – Sponsored by Grant Thornton, presented by Vishaal Sharma: Dalton Gally
The overage Texan is often touted as a defensive/shut down defender. Acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers earlier this season, Gally has provided veteran leadership for the Rockets. In addition to his leadership skills, Gally was depended upon on the ice in a variety of situations including the penalty kill. In 59 games with the Rockets this season, Gally had 10 assists and 64 penalty minutes.
Top Defensive Forward / Hollis Peirce Award – Donated by Dr. Murray Smith, presented by Bruce Hamilton: Conner Bruggen-Cate
The 6’1, 189lb. forward takes home this award for the second season in a row. Bruggen-Cate was counted on in all defensive situations for the Rockets, especially the penalty kill. Playing in 65 games this season, Bruggen-Cate finishes the year with 14 points (5G, 9A).
Top Defenceman – Sponsored by Melcor Lakeside Inc. and presented by Kris Mallette: Kaedan Korczak
The 6’3, 188 pound defenceman from Yorkton, SK led the Rockets defence core in assists. Suiting up in all 68 Rockets games this season, Korczak set career highs in assists and points; he had four goals and 29 assists, giving him 33 points. Korczak was counted on in all situations this season for the Rockets.
The steady defender is projected to be drafted at this June’s NHL Entry Draft. He was invited to play in the Sherwin-Williams Top Prospects Game in Red Deer on Team Orr back in January. Korczak is ranked 31st amongst North American skaters on Central Scouting’s midterm rankings for 2019 NHL Draft.
Most Sportsmanlike – Sponsored by Popeye’s Kelowna, presented by Jeff MacIsaac: Devin Steffler
In 64 games this season, Steffler recorded only 28 penalty minutes, while playing a regular role in the Rockets lineup. The Durango, CO product chipped in seven assists during his rookie campaign.
Rookie of the Year – Sponsored by CapriCMW, presented by Ev Rea: Lassi Thomson
The Finnish defenceman had a standout rookie season for Kelowna. The offensively talented defender adjusted well to the North American game, he tied for fifth in WHL rookie scoring and lead all Rockets defencemen in scoring with 41 points (17G, 24A).
He was invited to Finland’s World Junior camp before Christmas but was a late cut. Thomson then suited up at the Sherwin-Williams Top Prospects Game in Red Deer on Team Orr back in January. He is the top-ranked Rocket, in 14th spot by Central Scouting on their North American skaters midterm rankings for 2019 NHL Draft.
Humanitarian – Sponsored by the Hamilton family, presented by Anne-Marie Hamilton: Leif Mattson
Mattson was at nearly every event that the Rockets had this season. From school visits every week, to street hockey events, to delivering teddy bears to hospital patients, the forward displayed true class and character in the community. All season he 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: Nolan Foote
The 18-year-olds 36 goals this season led the Rockets in goals scored, 17 of them came on the power play. He was second in team scoring with 63 points (36G, 27A). The sniper also lead the way in shots on goal this season with 236.
Foote was invited to play for Team WHL at the CIBC Canada/Russia Series earlier this season. He once again put his talents on display on a big stage at the Sherwin-Williams Top Prospects Game in Red Deer on Team Cherry back in January. Nolan Foote is ranked 26th among North American skaters on the Central Scouting midterm rankings for 2019 NHL Draft.
The Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers will meet Tuesday, March 19 (7 p.m. PT) at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops for a tiebreaker game to determine the final playoff berth in the WHL’s B.C. Division and Western Conference.
The winner of Tuesday’s WHL Tiebreaker Game will advance to the 2019 WHL Playoffs and a best-of-seven, first-round series against the Victoria Royals, who finished the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season second in the B.C. Division.