Swetlikoff adjusting to life as a Rocket
To say that Alex Swetlikoff’s life has been busy is a bit of an understatement, the 17-year-old Kelowna product has had his foot on the gas pedal since the start of December.
Swetlikoff’s Western Hockey League rights were dealt to his hometown Kelowna Rockets on December 6th. Days later he suited up for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alberta from December 9th through the 16th. He helped Canada West capture the bronze medal.
On December 18th the 6’3, 182-pound centre signed a standard Western Hockey League (WHL) Player Agreement with Kelowna. Swetlikoff says that joining the Rockets will benefit his development in the long run.
“I needed better development,” said Swetlikoff. “It’s a lot faster in the WHL and more competitive with better players. Kelowna is going to help me develop and get me to the next level.”
The NHL’s Central Scouting Service has listed Swetlikoff as a C prospect on their Players to Watch List, meaning he is projected to be drafted in the fourth round or later at the NHL’s upcoming draft this June in Vancouver.
He hit the ice with his new teammates for the first time on boxing day and the following day before making his debut against the Kamloops Blazers on the road December 28th. He has been skating alongside Leif Mattson and Nolan Foote.
“It was a little tough the first day, eye-opening a bit. It’s getting easier as each day goes by though,” said Swetlikoff about his first few days as a Rocket.
Swetlikoff was held pointless in his first two games, but was right in the mix when things were heating up between the Blazers and the Rockets. He was in front of the net screening the Blazers goaltender as the Rockets tied the game up on Saturday night at Prospera Place. That’s the exact style of play that he said he would bring to the team.
“I’m a big forward, I like to use my size and speed to go to the net.”
You can see Swetlikoff and the Rockets play this Friday, January 4th, when they host the Prince George Cougars at Prospera Place. Tickets are on sale at selectyourtickets.com, at the Prospera Place box office or by phone at 250762-5050.