Friday was the fourth and final day of Kelowna Rockets Rookie Camp.
The 2002 and 2003 born players all got one more opportunity to showcase their talents on Friday morning as the rookies took the ice from 9:00am-1:00pm. Speed and creativity were abundant as the Rockets hopefuls played 3-on-3 to finish the camp.
While the rookies finished their final games, players attending the Rockets Main Camp took part in fitness testing on Friday morning.
Players were tested on bench press, squats, agility, vertical leap, pull-ups, and a reach test, as well as body fat tests. Usually the players are also tested during a five kilometre run, more commonly known around the Rockets dressing room as “The 5K”, but due to health concerns, the smoke in the Okanagan caused that portion to be cancelled.
Veteran Erik Gardiner was happy with how he and his teammates looked at fitness testing.
“I thought I did pretty well. Everybody looks bigger, stronger, and faster like I think they should and I think everyone is just anxious to get out on the ice and get started,” Gardiner said.
Entering his third season with the Rockets, Gardiner says he couldn’t be happier to be back and starting training camp.
“I’m really excited. It’s nice to be back in Kelowna despite the smoke. It’s great to be back around the guys, see the coaches, and be around the room. I’ve been waiting for basically the whole summer to get back so it’s awesome to be here,” said Gardiner. “It was obviously a tough offseason with all the stuff that happened in Humboldt, but it was nice to be able to kind of get away from it moving to Saskatoon. I had a lot of support, so I ended up turning into a fun offseason. I worked really hard and I feel like I improved on everything so I’m ready to get back out there.”
The Humboldt, Sk. native was hard at work all summer trying to improve his game for the upcoming season.
“Mostly I worked on my skating, I think that’s one of my weaknesses, so that was my main focus in the gym and in training. I think I improved on that and hopefully I can show how much I’ve improved in camp,” Gardiner said. “As a team every year we’re looking to make the playoffs and we’re looking to hopefully build on kind of what we’ve been building since I’ve been here. Obviously losing to Seattle a couple years ago was tough and then losing again last year was tough so hopefully we can do better and just play as a team, and play strong. If we do that we should be pretty successful.”
With 58 players currently registered (number subject to change), Main Camp runs from August 24th – August 30th, with Rockets preseason beginning on August 31st as they host their divisional rivals, the Victoria Royals at Prospera Place. Puck drop is at 7:05pm.