Junior hockey: Kelowna Rockets trade captain to league-leading Seattle Thunderbirds – Okanagan | globalnews.ca

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A roundup of results and news from junior hockey teams in the Okanagan and area.

The best team in the Western Hockey League just got stronger.

On Saturday, the Kelowna Rockets announced that they had traded their team captain, Colton Dach, to the Seattle Thunderbirds.

In shipping Dach to the Thunderbirds, who have won 13 of their last 14 games and have a league-high 58 points, the Rockets also gave up one draft pick but received two players and three draft picks in return.

Dach, 19, suffered a serious shoulder injury while playing for Team Canada in the recent world youth hockey championship, and is not expected to play for the next six to eight weeks.

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“Any time you trade your captain, it’s a very difficult decision,” Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton said Saturday morning.

“With Colton injured and unavailable to play until probably March 1, we felt it was in the best interest of our team and Colton to make this trade. We want to congratulate Colton on his junior world gold medal and thank him for his time with the Rockets. We wish him all the best moving forward.”

When Dach returns, however, Seattle’s formidable roster will feature five players who played for Canada in the World Youth Cup: goalkeeper Milic Thomas, defensemen Nolan Allan and Kevin Korchinski, plus forward Reid Schaefer.

Having two experienced players on the Canada team is considered impressive. Four? That’s from another world, let alone five.

The Medicine Hat Tigers (1988), Kamloops Blazers (1996), Windsor Spitfires (2010) and Niagara IceDogs (2011) also had four players on the Canada team.

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“While Colton is currently recovering from injury, we expect him to return long before the playoffs begin,” Seattle general manager Bill La Forge said of Dach, a 6-foot-4 center who was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2021.

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“He’s a big, talented center that gives us another offensive weapon as we pursue our championship goals.”

In 14 games with Kelowna this season, Dach had 9 goals and 17 points. Last season he scored 29 goals and 79 points in 71 games.

The Rockets also gave up a fifth-round pick in the 2024 WHL Bantam Draft. Going to Kelowna, however, are left winger Ty Hurley, 18, plus defenseman Ethan Mittelsteadt, 17, plus a first-round pick in 2024, a conditional second-round pick in 2025 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2025. 2023.

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In Kelowna, Andrew Cristall scored twice as the Rockets snapped a six-game losing streak on Friday night.

Marcus Pacheco also scored for Kelowna (13-19-3-0), which led 1-0 and 2-0 at halftime. Talyn Boyko stopped 26 of 28 shots for the Rockets, who hadn’t won since a 6-0 win over Lethbridge on Dec. 16.

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Daylan Kuefler and Kyle Masters answered for Kamloops (21-8-4-2), which hosts Kelowna on Saturday night. Dylan Ernst stopped 22 of 25 shots for the Blazers, who lead the BC Division with 48 points. The Rockets are fourth of five with 29 points.

Kelowna was 1 for 2 on the power play while Kamloops was 1 for 5.

friday results

  • Brandon 3, Portland 2
  • Medicine Hat 3, Edmonton 2
  • Calgary 2, moose jaw 1
  • Prince Albert 2, Red Deer 1
  • Everett 4, Prince George 2
  • Seattle 6, Regina 0
  • Victoria 6, Spokane 3
  • Swift Current 5, Saskatoon 4
  • Vancouver 3, Tri-City 2 (OT)

Saturday Games (All Times PT)

  • Seattle at Moose Jaw, 5 p.m.
  • Brandon at Prince Albert, 5 p.m.
  • Red Deer in Saskatoon, 5 p.m.
  • Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 6 p.m.
  • Edmonton at Lethbridge, 6 p.m.
  • Everett at Prince George, 6 p.m.
  • Victory in Tri-City, 6:05 p.m.
  • Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
  • Vancouver at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

sunday games

  • Calgary at Regina, 2 p.m.
  • Portland at Winnipeg, 3:05 p.m.

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In Prince George, Hank Levy was perfect between the tubes, stopping all 29 shots he faced, as the Vees shutout the Spruce Kings on Friday night and won their 30th game of the season.

Brett Moravec, Josh Nadeau and Aydar Suniev scored for the league-leading Penticton (30-2-0-0-0), which did it all scoring in the third quarter.

Moravec made it 1-0 at 1:13 of the third, with Nadeau putting the Vees ahead 2-0 at 16:53. Suniev closed the scoring at 17:17 with a power-play goal.

Jordan Fairlie stopped 25 of 28 shots for Prince George (16-12-2-1-0).

The Vees were 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Spruce Kings were 0-for-5.


At Salmon Arm, Matthew Tovell backed up the Silverbacks to a shutout victory with a 37-save performance on Friday night.

Brandon Santa Juana, Owen Beckner and Ryan Gillespie scored for Salmon Arm (16-12-2-1-0), who scored all of their scoring in the first half.

Ethan David started for Vernon (14-14-0-4-0), but lasted just one period, stopping 8 of 11 shots. Roan Clarke went 19-for-19 in relief.

Both teams were 0 for 3 on the power play.

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In West Kelowna, Isaiah Norlin scored the only goal in a penalty shootout, which lasted seven rounds, as the Warriors rallied to beat the Smoke Eaters on Friday night.

Riley Sharun, Michael Salandra and Jaiden Moriello scored in regulation for West Kelowna (xxx), which trailed 2-0 after the first half and 3-0 at the second half.

Sharun scored at 10:45 to make it 3-1, with Salandra pulling West Kelowna within one with 5:15 of third. Nine minutes later, at 2:15 p.m., Moriello scored his 16the goal of the season to level the score at 3-3.

Extra time passed scoreless, and the match headed into what would be a long, near scoreless shootout.

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Angelo Zol stopped 31 of 34 shots for the Warriors, while Teagan Kendrick deflected 48 of 51 shots for the Smoke Eaters.

Trail went 1-for-3 on the power play, while West Kelowna had no power play opportunities.

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friday results

  • Coquitlam 4, Chilliwack 1
  • Cowichan Valley 3, Victoria 1
  • Cranbrook 4, Merritt 1
  • Alberni Valley 4, Nanaimo 2
  • Wenatchee 6, Powell River 5 (overtime)
  • Surrey 4, Langley 0

Saturday Games (All Times PT)

  • Cranbrook at Chilliwack, 6 p.m.
  • Merritt at Vernon, 6 p.m.
  • Wenatchee in the Alberni Valley, 7 p.m.
  • Cowichan Valley on the Powell River, 7 p.m.
  • Penticton at Prince George, 7 p.m.
  • Nanaimo in Victoria, 7 p.m.
  • Langley Trail, 7:15 p.m.

sunday games

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  • Salmon Arm in West Kelowna, 2:30 p.m.
  • Wenatchee in Cowichan Valley, 4 p.m.
  • Coquitlam in Surrey, 4pm

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The Nelson Leafs say their head coach has resigned, and the team has issued an apology, following a fight on the line on Dec. 31.

In all, 10 players and one team staff member were disciplined by the league on January 3, with suspensions totaling 43 games: 35 for Nelson and eight for Beaver Valley.

Then, on Friday, January 6, the KIJHL announced that Nelson’s head coach, Adam DiBella, had been suspended for the remainder of the season.

“Our investigation determined that the incident at Saturday’s game was instigated by the Leafs at the direction of Mr. DiBella,” KIJHL Commissioner Jeff Dubois said.

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“The KIJHL has zero tolerance for these types of actions by any team personnel, and the severity of Mr. DiBella’s suspension reflects how seriously we take leadership and player safety.”

The Leafs, who also received a $5,000 fine, also announced Friday that DiBella had resigned and the team will be led by assistant coach Tyson Soobotin and general manager Lance Morey.

“The Nelson Leafs will make a decision on the head coaching position in the coming days,” the team said, adding that it will not appeal the league’s decisions.

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friday results

  • Kimberley 2, Castlegar 1
  • Gold 9, Creston Valley 4
  • Fernie 5, Columbia Valley 3
  • 100 Mile House 2, Kamloops 1
  • Nelson 4, chase 3
  • Sicamoso 5, Princeton 4
  • Revelstoke 5, North Okanagan 1
  • Great Forks 2, Beaver Valley 1

Saturday Games (All Times PT)

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  • Creston Valley in Columbia Valley, 6 p.m.
  • Castlegar at Fernie, 6:30 p.m.
  • Kimberley at Golden, 6:30 p.m.
  • Nelson at 100 Mile House, 7 p.m.
  • Chase in Kamloops, 7 p.m.
  • Sicamous in Kelowna, 7 p.m.
  • Princeton at Revelstoke, 7 p.m.
  • Osoyoos in Grand Forks, 7 p.m.
  • Summerland in Beaver Valley, 7 p.m.

sunday games

  • Kelowna at Sicamous, 2 p.m.
  • North Okanagan at Osoyoos, 4:05 p.m.
  • Nelson in Kamloops, 5 p.m.

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