Kelowna Rockets nab skilled centre with first pick in WHL draft

Rockets target centre

The Kelowna Rockets have returned to a familiar breeding ground with their first pick in today's WHL priority draft.

The Rockets dipped into St. George's School, a private school in Vancouver to select skilled centre Eli Barrett with the fourth pick of the second round, 26th overall.

Current Rocket Andrew Cristall also attended St. George's.

In 27 games with the U15 prep team, Barrett, listed at 5'8", 142 pounds, scored 31 goals and 42 assists.

The Rockets didn't have a pick in the first round, a selection dealt to the Seattle Thunderbirds in a deal for Matthew Wedman in December of 2019.

The Rockets went back to St. George's with their first pick of the third round (48th overall) to grab right winger Kanjyu Gojsic.

The 5'11", 174 pound Gojsic had 19 goals and 46 points in 26 games.

Two picks later, with a selection obtained from Brandon in the Nolan Flamand deal, the Rockets took 5'11" defenceman Jacob Henderson out of the Yale Hockey Academy.

Henderson, who had 28 points and 22 penalty minutes in 28 games, is the son of former Tacoma and Kelowna Rocket Burt Henderson.

Ironically, Henderson and John Varga played together in Tacoma for two seasons. The Rockets Wednesday drafted Kalder Varga the son of John Vraga in the first round of the U.S. priority draft.

In all, the Rockets selected 10 players through the first 10 rounds before passing in the eleventh round.

The remainder of those selected include:

  • 4th round (76) Owen Folstrom - centre
  • 5th round (91) Dallin Antos - defenceman
  • 6th round (116) Gabriel O'Brien - left winger
  • 7th round (136) Ben BacBeath - defenceman
  • 7th round (145) Sullivan Fogolin - defenceman
  • 9th round (180) Boston Schmidt - left winger
  • 10th round (202) Nolan Beddow - left winger.

Fogolin is the grandson of former Edmonton Oilers defenceman Lee Fogolin.

In all, the Rockets selected two centres, four wingers and four defencemen. Those are on top of the forward and goaltender they selected Wednesday during the U.S. priority draft.

Next up is the import draft of European players set for July 5. The Rockets will pick 12th in that draft and are expected to select one player, anticipating forward Gabriel Szturc will not be returning for his overage season.

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