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Rockets’ road to Memorial Cup takes to the ice at rookie camp in Kelowna

Rockets rookie camp

It may be 277 days away, but the road to the Memorial Cup took to the ice on Tuesday at the Kelowna Rockets’ rookie camp.

“We usually have two or three kids come out of here that we list [and] turn into pretty good players,” said Rockets assistant GM Lorne Frey.

This year’s rookie camp is the biggest in terms of the amount of players since 2014.

“When it was all said and done, I think we are around 150 players,” Frey said.

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But not all of those fresh faces are on the ice. Former Rocket and NHL veteran Vern Fiddler made a return to rookie camp. This time, though, as a new assistant coach.

Kelowna Rockets scout Terry McFaul isn’t new at all,; he’s been with the Rockets since the beginning.

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McFaul says he’s a weathered veteran of many rookie camps and he knows exactly what to keep an eye out for.

“To me, No. 1, if you can’t skate, you can’t play,” McFaul said.

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McFaul adds after that, “mobility, agility, then you look for hockey sense.”

When it comes to those traits, all eyes are on 15-year-old center Nolan Flamand.

Flamand is Kelowna’s 2019 second round draft pick, 27th overall.

“He’s very smart, intelligent, he does good things with the puck,”  said McFaul.

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“He basically dominated the scrimmage, but he also sees the ice very well and his insticts for the game are really good,” added Frey.

Last year, Flamand was a highly touted underage major midget player in Saskatoon.

This season, Flamand will  get a chance to stick around for main camp and see what he can do against older players.

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“I think I’m a corner guy, I’m good on my edges, I’m a very fast paced player, I can make plays in a snap,” said Flamand.

“I can see the ice very well and if I get the puck on my stick, I can release it quickly and score goals.”

That’s something the Rockets will need in spades as they look to play on the final Sunday of the Memorial Cup next May.