In what can't be called a surprising move, Kelowna Rockets forward Kyle St. Denis won't be suiting up for the first game of the regular season in two weeks' time. If he'll suit up at all this season.
On Thursday, the team announced that the highly popular 5-foot-8 foward from Trail is still recovering from multiple concussions suffered the past two seasons, and he'll remain on the injured reserve list until Christmas.
Below is the Rockets' press release.
ST. DENIS TO REMAIN ON INJURED RESERVE
The Kelowna Rockets announce that player Kyle St. Denis will remain on injured reserve until Christmas as he continues to battle back from multiple concussions.
St. Denis, along with his parents, recently met with two specialists, both of whom recommended he avoid body contact. The family then decided it was best for Kyle to take a break from hockey.
“It’s really hard,” said St. Denis. “I’ve been training all summer to come back with the intention of playing. This is one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make. But hearing the doctors say I can’t play made it an easier decision.”
St. Denis will remain on injured reserve until Christmas when, if he is feeling better, he will be re-evaluated. In the meantime, the veteran forward will begin investigating educational opportunities and spending time at home in Trail.
Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton said it has been a tough time for St. Denis, his family and the Rockets organization.
“It’s a great loss to our organization,” said Hamilton. “Our biggest concern is for Kyle’s health. We want to get him back to being productive, whether it be in hockey or in school. Most importantly his health is first and foremost.”
During a three year playing career St. Denis electrified Kelowna crowds with his energetic style and offensive flair. At 17-years-old he scored 40 points but both of his previous two seasons were ended by injury.
The Rockets and the WHL will play a role in allowing St. Denis to find an outlet other than hockey. Because he can’t play due to injury, St. Denis will receive a full four year scholarship from the Rockets through the WHL education program.
St. Denis remains home with his family in Trail after being around the Rockets for training camp.
Oilers to visit Kelowna
In other news, the Edmonton Oilers will be in the Central Okanagan this Saturday. Well, the team's rookies anyway, as the NHL franchise prepares for the upcoming Young Stars tournament in Penticton Sept. 12 to 16. The five-team event, which starts Sunday and runs until Thursday, features five teams: Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Anaheim and San Jose.
Among the many notable players are Edmonton's Calgary-raised Taylor Hall and Saskatoon Blade forward Curtis Hamilton, the son of Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton, plus Rocket forward Brandon McMillan, who should make the jump into Anaheim's farm system this season.
Sadly, though, Oiler fans in the Central Okanagan won't be able to attend this practice, as it's off limits. The bad news came Thursday in another Rockets press release, stating the Oilers wanted the doors closed to the public. But just in case you're feeling left out, the Oilers also closed the practice session to the media.
All I can say is: Go Flames!