Kelowna Rockets select Minnesota teammates in US prospect draft

Rockets take US teammates

The Kelowna Rockets went with familiarity during Wednesday's first-ever U.S. prospects draft.

Kelowna grabbed a pair of Minnesota teammates during the two-round draft.

They nabbed 14-year-old Wyatt Olson with the 15th overall pick, and 14-year-old Finn Brink with the 30th selection.

Olson, a 6', 161lb right winger played 24 games with two different teams, amassing 20 goals and 14 assists over 24 games.

Brink, a 5'8", 150lb left winger skated in 25 games with the same two teams, picking up 19 goals and 17 assists.

U.S. born players not selected in this special draft will be eligible for the bantam draft next month.

Players selected today won't be eligible to skate in the WHL full-time until the 2021-2022 season.

Prior to the draft, the Regina Pats learned they would get the first selection in the April 22 bantam draft, after winning the draft lottery.

The Pats hold the first-overall pick, having acquired Swift Current's first round pick.

Prince George will pick second.

The Rockets will pick eighth in the draft.

WHL US draft will be held Wednesday

WHL to hold US draft

In the wake of the cancellation of the entire season, including the 2020 Memorial Cup, the Western Hockey League has announced changes to its end-of-season events.

The league will go ahead with its U.S.-born draft as scheduled Wednesday morning.

The draft is for 2005-born players who reside in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

It will consist of two rounds, with the Kelowna Rockets selecting 15th and 30th.

Players not selected will still be eligible for the main bantam draft.

The bantam draft, originally scheduled for May 7 will now take place April 22.

The bantam draft lottery will be held immediately prior to the start of Wednesday's U.S. draft.

Details surrounding the end-of-season awards have not yet been announced.

Remaining 54 regular season WHL games have been scrubbed

WHL cancels regular season

The Western Hockey League has cancelled the balance of its 2019-2020 regular season.

The announcement comes less than a week after the league joined others across North America in pausing the season due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since teams had played an uneven number of games when the season was cancelled, final standings have been determined by winning percentage.

“The WHL takes the safety of our players, officials, staff, fans, and everyone associated with the WHL very seriously,” said WHL commissioner Ron Robison.

“Given the ongoing public health developments regarding COVID-19, we deemed it necessary to cancel the remaining games on the 2019-20 WHL regular season schedule.

“We will continue to monitor ongoing public health developments regarding COVID-19. We will make every effort possible to conduct the 2020 WHL playoffs at a later date. We thank WHL fans and partners for your patience and understanding during these challenging times.”

Kelowna Rockets president and GM Bruce Hamilton says no decision has been made yet concerning the Memorial Cup. That, he says, remains fluid.

Hamilton says there is still the belief they could get going by the end of May.

He says the commissioners of the three leagues and the president of the CHL talk every day and consult regularly with the NHL concerning the pandemic.

An announcement could be forthcoming next week concerning the possibility of shifting dates for the Memorial Cup.

The Rockets had three home dates remaining in the regular season.

Season ticket holders will get a credit for those lost games applied to their 2020-2021 season tickets.

Refunds will be available for single-game tickets only. Tickets purchased online or over the phone will be automatically refunded to the card on file. In-person refunds can be done at the Select Your Tickets box office located at Prospera Place.

CHL still hopes to go ahead with Memorial Cup in Kelowna

No decision on Memorial Cup

While the Canadian Hockey League temporarily ceases operations during to the COVID-19 pandemic, they still hope to be able to resume play in time to play the Memorial Cup in May.

In a statement, the CHL communications director Paul Krotz  said Friday, "at this time, it remains our hope that the event will continue as scheduled.

"However, more information will be shared as details around the balance of the 2019-2020 season are determined as we work through these unprecedented circumstances."

Krotz was not able to say whether dates for the Memorial Cup, scheduled to run from May 21 to 31, could be changed and, if not, whether a drop-dead date for the resumption of play had been determined.

He says the CHL is in regular communication with the Memorial Cup host committee, saying they fully support the decision to suspend play until further notice.

"Together, in partnership with the host organizing committee, the CHL will continue to monitor information and developments provided by local, provincial and federal health agencies.

"The health and safety of all committee members, the players, fans, volunteers, and the community, is of vital importance."

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