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Kelowna Rockets swing trade deal with Seattle Thunderbirds for Tij Iginla

Tij Iginla, seen here in action this past season with the Seattle Thunderbirds. On Wednesday, the Kelowna Rockets announced that they had traded for the Lake Country product. Jarret Gale / Kelowna Rockets

The son of a former hockey legend is now a member of the Kelowna Rockets.

On Wednesday morning, the Rockets announced that they had acquired Tij Iginla from the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The son of NHL legend Jarome Iginla, Tij Iginla, 16, played 48 games with Seattle this past season, tallying six goals and 12 assists for 18 points.

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In landing the Lake Country resident, Rockets president and GM Bruce Hamilton gave up 17-year-old forward Grady Lenton of Delta, a first-round draft pick in 2024 and a second-round draft pick in 2027.

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During the 2023 WHL prospects draft on May 11, Seattle traded its 2027 second-round pick to Kelowna in exchange for the Rockets’ 2023 third- and fifth-round picks.

“We’re excited to have the chance to acquire a player like Tij,” Hamilton said of Iginla, who grew up in Lake Country.

“He has a full season in the Western Hockey League as a 16-year-old under his belt. We gave up a lot in first, third- and fifth-round picks to get him, but we think he will be one of the top players on our team.”

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Seattle captured this season’s league championship and took part in the 2023 Memorial Cup in Kamloops, where the Thunderbirds fell 5-0 in the championship game to the Quebec Remparts.

However, Iginla never played in the tournament. He also saw limited action in Seattle’s playoff run, appearing in just three games — all against Kelowna in the first round — and tallying one assist.

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Seattle selected Iginla ninth overall in the 2021 WHL prospects draft.

“He’s a great skater with great hockey sense, who shoots the puck well,” Hamilton said.

“He’s exactly who we’re looking for in the makeup of our team in trying to get faster. With the personnel that we have, he adds to the group of elite players that can play in our top six.”

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Earlier this season, the six-foot, 181-pound forward won silver with Team Canada Red at the U-17 Hockey Challenge. He tallied two goals and five assists for seven points in seven games.

Iginla also has an older sister, Jade Iginla, who’s playing college hockey at Brown University, and a younger brother, Joe Iginla, who was drafted by the Edmonton Oil Kings at 12th overall in May.

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Meanwhile, Lenton appeared in 59 games for the Rockets this season, posting four goals and four assists for eight points, plus eight penalty minutes.

“We’d like to thank Grady for his time with the Rockets,” Hamilton said. “We wish him all the best in Seattle and moving forward.”

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