2022 Kelowna Rockets Awards Presented by Tourism Kelowna Winners Announced
The Kelowna Rockets announced today the recipients of the organization’s annual awards presented by Tourism Kelowna following the conclusion of the 2021-22 regular season.
It’s the first time that the team has handed out awards since the 2019-20 season.
In addition, the players who won awards that remain on the Rockets roster from the 2019-2020 season were presented with their trophies from that season.
The 2019-20 winners are as follows:
- 19-20 Scholastic Player of the Year – Jake Poole
- 19-20 Most Improved – Elias Carmichael
- 19-20 Top Scorer – Pavel Novak
- 19-20 Unsung Hero – Jake Lee
- 19-20 Rookie of the Year – Pavel Novak
To view the full list of 2019-20 award winners, please click here.
2021-22 Award Winners
Scholastic Player: Marcus Pacheco
Marcus Pacheco has been named the Rockets scholastic player of the year, the 17-year-old achieved significant academic results in his educational programs while balancing WHL commitments.
The Edmonton, Alta. product appeared in 57 games, putting up 14 points (3G, 11A), along with eight penalty minutes and a +2 plus/minus rating in his rookie season with the Rockets. Pacheco was selected during the third round (No. 49) at the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.
Humanitarian: Jackson DeSouza
Defenceman Jackson DeSouza was awarded the Rockets Humanitarian award for his efforts off the ice and in the community.
The 19-year-old defenceman is always going out of his way for fans. Most recently, DeSouza became involved with the Hockey Gives Blood campaign.
At Hockey Gives Blood, their vision is to inspire and engage the hockey community about the importance of blood and stem cell donation to help save lives.
Most Improved: Dylan Wightman
Playing in his second season with the Rockets, centreman Dylan Wightman bought into a specific role this season.
Tasked with more responsibilities, the Kelowna product has been a fixture on the penalty kill, playing major shutdown minutes for the Rockets while being dependable in the faceoff dot.
Through 54 games this season, Wightman posted 14 points (4G, 10A) along with 15 penalty minutes.
Best Plus/Minus: John Babcock
Defenceman John Babcock led the Rockets with a +28 plus/minus rating, the 18-year-old finished the regular season with 23 points (3G, 20A) through 57 games.
Technically still considered a rookie after only appearing in nine games last season, Babcock became a regular in the Rockets lineup this season.
Top Scorer: Colton Dach
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Colton Dach led the Rockets in points this season with 79 points (29G, 50A) over 61 games.
The 19-year-old also led the team in shots on goal with 274 and power play points with 27 (9G, 18A).
He was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades prior to the start of the 2019-20 season.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound forward was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round of the 2021 NHL Draft, signing an entry-level contract with the NHL Club in October of 2021.
Most Sportsmanlike: Gabriel Szturc
Rookie import forward Gabriel Szturc missed just one game this season, through 67 games the Cesky Tesin, CZE product only posted six penalty minutes.
Selected 44th overall in the first round of the 2021 CHL Import Draft, Szturc posted 41 points (16G, 25A) in his first season with the Rockets.
Unsung Hero: Mark Liwiski
The 20-year-old posted career highs across the board in his final season with the Rockets, registering 46 points (24G, 22A), 116 penalty minutes and a +15 plus/minus rating over 63 games.
Originally acquired from the Everett Silvertips in the summer of 2018, Liwiski appeared in 205 regular-season contests over five seasons—all but ten of those games were in a Rockets uniform.
As a rookie, Liwiski was awarded the Rockets Most Improved award for the 2018-19 season.
Hollis Pearce Award, Top Defensive Forward: Nolan Flamand
The Rockets top pick from the 2019 WHL Draft made an impact on all ends of the ice this season. Tasked with playing top penalty kill minutes, the Saskatoon, Sask. product led all Rockets centremen with a winning faceoff percentage of 51.9%.
Flamand appeared in 60 games this past season, posting 40 points (10G, 30A), 8 penalty minutes and a +19 plus/minus rating.
He’s ranked 187th among North American skaters eligible for the 2022 NHL Draft on the NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings.
Top Defenceman: Jake Lee
The 6’2, 194-pound defenceman from Ardrossan, Alta. led the Rockets defence core in goals, assists and points.
Suiting up in all but two of the Rockets games this season, Lee set career highs across the board with 16 goals and 30 assists through 66 games.
Originally acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds in 2019, Lee is the last remaining part of the trades made with Seattle in gearing up for the 2020 Memorial Cup.
Rookie of the Year: Andrew Cristall
Selected eighth overall by the Rockets in the 2020 WHL Prospects Draft, Cristall put together a remarkable campaign that saw him match and break franchise records.
Through 61 games this season, Cristall posted 69 points (28G, 41A) over 61 games, including 31 penalty minutes and a +18 plus/minus rating.
He finished third in team scoring and tied Colton Dach for the team lead in power play goals with nine.
He set a new franchise record for goals by a 16-year-old and tied Shane McColan’s record of 69 points by a 16-year-old–McColgan needed 71 games to reach that total, while it took Cristall 61 games.
Cristall is not eligible for the NHL Draft until 2023.
Most Valuable Player: Talyn Boyko
Talyn Boyko has been credited with giving the Rockets a chance to win every game when he’s in net.
Acquired from the Tri-City Americans in early November, the New York Rangers prospect put together a stellar campaign in a Rockets uniform.
He appeared in 46 games for Kelowna this season, posting a 28-12-1-3 record with two shutouts, a 2.79 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.
Boyko is the seventh Rockets goaltender to win the MVP award, joining Kevin Swanson, Shane Bendera, Derek Yeomans, Kelly Guard, Adam Brown and Jordan Cooke.
In addition to the awards presented to the players, the Rockets three 20-year-old players received their framed photos from the Rockets organization to thank them for their time with the team.
About Kelowna Tourism: As the lead destination marketing organization for the Central Okanagan, Tourism Kelowna works on behalf of over 400 local tourism businesses and the larger tourism and hospitality community to support and market the destination of Kelowna in a sustainable manner that strengthens the economy and enriches the quality of life for local residents. Click here to learn more about Tourism Kelowna.
WHL Playoff hockey is back in Kelowna for the first time since 2018! Cheer on the Kelowna Rockets in round one as they take on the Seattle Thunderbirds, tickets for home games one (Tuesday, April 26) and two (Wednesday, April 27) are now on sale at Select Your Tickets.
Fans can purchase their tickets online at selectyourtickets.com, at the Prospera Place box office or by phone at 250-762-5050. The box office is open 11:00 a.m. to 4:00p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and opens at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday home game days.