Sunday was a good day for the Virden Oil Capitals and Manson’s Kurt Rookes.
Rookes, the son of Michael and Leanne, was picked seventh overall in the first round of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Draft by the Waywayseecappo Wolverines. He had been watching the draft online with his family.
“I was very happy to be selected to such a great organization,” Rookes said.
The Oil Capitals made six selections in the eight-round draft, which was held online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team grabbed four forwards, a defenceman and a goaltender.
“We are very happy with our selections in this year’s draft,” head coach Tyson Ramsey said on the team’s website. “Our scouting staff, led by Brian Elder and Scott Coates, put together another solid list and we felt that we added some real good players both up front, on the back end and in goal. … It was an exciting day for our group and we can’t wait to have these guys come to camp in August.”
Before the MJHL Draft, the Oil Caps auto-protected hometown defenceman Ty Plaisier, the son of Shawn and Debra. In the second round of the draft, 19th overall, Elkhorn’s Foxx McColl, the son of Travis McColl and Jacqueline Rookes, was picked by Swan Valley. Earlier in the week, Plaisier was picked by the Regina Pats in the fourth round of the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, while McColl went in the 10th to the Winnipeg Ice.
Wolverines head coach Taylor Harnett said his team was thrilled to draft Rookes, a defenceman, in the first round.
“We seehim being a player that in a few years we wouldn't want on an opposing team in our league. So, the choice was simple,” Harnett said. “He has a physical presence on the ice, which we just couldn't pass up. He has a high skill set and sees the ice very extremely well. One thing that jumped out while watching him was how aware he was of everyone around him. He has the ability to transport the puck and make smart plays while doing so.”
The 5-foot-19, 175-pound Rookes had 12 goals, 41 points, and 84 penalty minutes in 33 games last season for the Yellowhead Chiefs Bantam AAA team. He improved his points total by 24 from his rookie bantam campaign.
Rookes praised his family members for helping him get to where he is today.
“My family has been very supportive throughout my hockey career, whether it’s my brothers helping me with game and my parents taking me to camps for skill development during the off-season,” he said, referencing older siblings Cody and Bray (who played last season for the Oil Capitals). “Also, my grandparents (Sharon Leslie and Jack and Betty Rookes) come to most of my games, which gives me a lot of support.”
Rookes plans to try out for the U18 AAA Chiefs next season. If fall camps go ahead as usual, he is also looking forward to attending Waywayseecappo’s event.
“I am excited to see how I compare to the other prospects and players,” Rookes said. “I am also looking forward to meeting the coaches and staff of the team.”
Oil Caps Picks
Round 1, 6th overall
F, RHA Nationals
50 games, 27 goals, 19 assists, 46 points
Coach’s Quote: “London is a hardworking, respectful kid,” RHA Nationals head coach Brad Purdie said. “He is relentless on pucks, has a very nice touch around the net and does not back down from the physical play. He is not afraid to go to the dirty areas of the ice and pay the price to make a play either. He is very coachable and is dedicated to getting better as a hockey player.”
Rd 2, 17th
F, RHA Nationals
50 games, 8 G, 15 A, 23 PTS
Caps Quote (fromOil Capitals website): “Groening is an excellent skater and he has the ability to play the game with speed and has a great shot.”
Rd 3, 28th
F, Brandon Wheat Kings
36 games, 33 G, 27 A, 60 PTS
Caps Quote: “He is an extremely skilled athlete who got better and better as the year went on and he can obviously score.”
Rd 6, 61st
G, Southwest Cougars
2.60 goals against average, .930 save percentage
Caps Quote: “(He) is regarded as one of the top goalies his age in the province.”
Rd 6, 63rd
F, Southwest Cougars
35 games, 12 G, 20 A, 32 PTS
Caps Quote: “He comes from a good family and plays the game with determination and grit.”
Rd 8, 83rd
D, Winnipeg Hawks
35 games, 1 G, 9 A, 10 PTS
Caps Quote: “He is a consistent competitor who defends well, makes a good first pass and has some real good leadership qualities.”