The Kelowna Rockets knew that defenceman Kaedan Korczak was going to be special, so they made their move at the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft to snag the guy that they had their eye on.
Holding the 20th pick in the first round, the Rockets traded that pick and a third-round pick to the Red Deer Rebels for the 11th overall pick up Korczak. It’s a move that the Rockets haven’t regretted making one bit.
The Yorkton, SK product cracked the Rockets lineup at 16 last season, he didn’t disappoint putting up 16 points (3G, 13A) and 44 penalty minutes in 67 games played.
Korczak would’ve played in more games with the Rockets, but he was invited to play for Canada Black at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. His team was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Sweden, but the young defender had the chance to play a shutdown role against the likes of Jack Hughes and other top prospects that Canada Black faced.
He didn’t get nearly as long of a summer break as his teammates, because he was invited to Hockey Canada’s Summer Selection Camp for the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
The then 17-year-old earned a spot on Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the July Camp. He helped Canada to a perfect 5-0 record and a gold medal at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Edmonton last August. Korczak said it was an unbelievable experience.
“It was awesome,” said Korczak. “Obviously playing with the best guys in the country for our age group, just seeing how they handled themselves and prepared for games I think it helped shape me for how I’m playing today.”
He returned to Kelowna for his second full season later that August. Now standing at 6’3 and 192 pounds, the defenseman’s leadership skills were recognized, Korczak was named one of the teams assistant captains. He says that it’s an honour to wear an A on his jersey.
“It’s nice to be recognized as a leader on this team, especially looking at all of the other guys that have had leadership roles in past years. It means a lot to me to have that role on the team.”
This season the steady defender has a career-best 26 points (3G, 23A) and 55 penalty minutes in 60 games with the Rockets. He was invited to suit up for Team Orr at the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game where he helped his team come back from a three-goal deficit to defeat Team Cherry 5-4.
Korczak is ranked 31st amongst North American skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau on their mid-season rankings. He says that he’s excited to hear his name called in June at the NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver.
“I’m excited, the biggest thing is I just want to be drafted – it doesn’t matter where to. I’m looking forward to it, but there’s still lots for me to do before then.”
Korczak is correct, there is lots to do before the draft. The Rockets still have eight regular season games remaining, they currently sit third in the B.C. Division.
Come cheer on Korczak and the Rockets as they battle Portland Winterhawks and the WHL’s leading scorer, Joachim Blichfeld. Tickets are on sale at selectyourtickets.com, at the Prospera Place box office or by phone at 250-762-5050.