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Topping embracing veteran role

Marissa Baecker

“It goes by fast,” that’s what Kyle Topping was told numerous times coming into the Western Hockey League back in 2016. Fast forward three years and the 19-year-old finds himself telling younger players the same thing as he heads into his overage season with the Rockets.

The Salt Spring Island, BC product has come a long way from when the Rockets drafted him. He was the seventh last pick of the 2o14 WHL Bantam Draft, Kelowna selected him 226th overall during the 11th round. Rockets assistant GM, head scout, director of player personnel Lorne Frey says that Topping had shown promise ahead of the draft.

“While we were scouting him we were thinking that he brought an upside and could score,” said Frey. “He had a good year following the draft and the next season he cracked our lineup. We’ve been very happy with his development, he continues to get better and better every year.”

Frey says that having an older brother in the WHL most likely helped Topping mature. Jordan played four seasons with the Tri-City Americans, wearing an A for the final three campaigns.

“I think that Jordan had something to do with helping Kyle develop, Jordan is a very good hockey player. He probably helped him prepare for the jump.”

Topping admits that Jordan made it a little easier coming into his first camp with the Rockets.

“Having my brother play a couple of seasons before me I was pretty familiar with the league and what it was about,” said Topping.

KELOWNA, CANADA - MARCH 4: Brothers Kyle Topping #24 of the Kelowna Rockets and Jordan Topping #12 of the Tri-City Americans kneel at centre ice during warm up on March 4, 2017 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze) *** Local Caption ***
KELOWNA, CANADA – MARCH 4: Brothers Kyle Topping #24 of the Kelowna Rockets and Jordan Topping #12 of the Tri-City Americans kneel at centre ice during warm up on March 4, 2017 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze) *** Local Caption ***

The younger Topping has suited up in 193 games with the Rockets over the last three seasons. During that time he has scored 163 points (59G, 104A) and has added 163 penalty minutes and a +35 plus/minus rating. The dependable centreman lead Kelowna in scoring last season with 69 points.

He’s now the older brother for younger players entering the Rockets system. He tries to provide them with the guidance that he was fortunate to have received.

“I love being the older brother, making guys feel comfortable and showing them what to do and when to do it. It means a lot when I hear that I’ve helped them.”

Everyone it seems wants to talk to him about being an overage player and heading into his final season, but Topping wants to focus on this season.

“Now that I’m going into that final season it’s kind of crazy, I was always told it would fly by, but I didn’t think it would go by this fast. Having the chance to play in a Memorial Cup will be a pretty great way to end my junior career. Everyone wants to talk to me about how it’s the final year, but I’m just excited to get out there and play. ”

He will be headed south later this week along with Leif Mattson, both have been invited by the Carolina Hurricanes to play for them at the 2019 NHL Prospects Showcase in Nashville, Tenn from Sept. 7-10.

Carolina will play its first game of the showcase against the Washington Capitals on Sept. 7 at 2 pm ET. There is a chance that the duo will face Nolan Foote and former Rocket Cal Foote when the Hurricanes take on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s prospects on Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. ET. The team will complete the event with a 2 p.m. ET showdown against the host Predators on Sept. 10.


Packages for the 2020 Memorial Cup are now available to current and future 2019/2020 Kelowna Rockets Season Ticket Holders by contacting Andrew Deans or Gavin Hamilton at the Kelowna Rockets Office at 250-860-7825. Don’t be stuck outside of Prospera Place, become a season ticket holder today and guarantee your seats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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