Rockets’ European Content Undergoes Renovation
by Dana Soleski - July 28, 2005
When the puck drops for the Rockets’ season opener this fall, there’ll be more than one European rookie making his Kelowna debut.
The team closed out last season with Slovakian Michal Blanar and Latvian Lauris Darzins taking up the only 2 roster spots available for non-North American born players. Since then, Blanar has been released and Darzins has undergone shoulder surgery that will keep him out of the lineup until at least December. Into the fold will step defenseman Alexander Edler and forward Thomas Raffl.
The injury to Darzins certainly smarts. He was one of the more dangerous Kelowna forwards, particularly in the latter half of the regular season and on into the playoffs where he joined Chris Ray and Brent Howarth on a dynamite forward unit. Furthermore, he chipped in a pair of crucial overtime game winners in the post season including one versus Brandon in game 4 of the finals that gave Kelowna a stranglehold on a series they eventually won in five. However, the intriguing prospect of Raffl filling the void has Hamilton excited.