Rockets’ Liam Kindree credits confidence for growth in scoring
When Liam Kindree was a 16-year-old at Kelowna Rockets training camp in 2016, the coaching staff was faced with a hard task, return the young forward for another season of midget hockey or keep him with the Western Hockey League club.
The Rockets ultimately decided with the former, a move they also made with Kole Lind when he was 16.
Kindree returned to the Vancouver Northwest Giants with one challenge from the Rockets coaching staff; to be the best player out there. Kindree took the challenge seriously and at the end of the 2016-2017 season he sat atop the BCMML’s scoring race with 67 points (28G-39A) in 40 games. He was also named the league’s top forward.
As a rookie with Kelowna last season, Kindree was tasked with a bit of an unfamiliar role. Instead of lighting up opponent’s nets on a constant basis, he did a lot of learning while chipping in when he could. In 50 games, he put up 27 points (8G-19A) and 24 penalty minutes. He dressed for all four of Kelowna’s playoff games, picking up an assist. Kindree credits Dillon Dube with helping him adjust to major junior.
“Dube guided me through my first year in the WHL,” said Kindree. “Some of the things that he taught me have really helped me improve my play this year.”
Heading into this season with the subtraction of leading scorers Lind, Dube, and Carsen Twarynski the Rockets were expecting more from their young winger. He has risen to the challenge. Through 20 games, he’s fourth in team scoring with 21 points (5G-16A). Currently, Kindree is riding a four-game point streak, with (six points (2G-4A) over that span. The 5-foot-10, 177-pound winger says his confidence has helped him the most this season, but he’s happy to play any role the coaching staff needs.
“From last year to this year, there has been a lot of confidence added to my game,” said Kindree. “With being one year older, it makes that much more of a difference in the league.
“But the biggest thing that has changed from last year to this year is confidence in myself. It’s nice to know that the coaches think of me that way (as a scorer) and can rely on me. Whatever role they need me to play, I’m willing to step up and do that.”
Your next chance to watch Kindree and his teammates play is on Wednesday, November 28 (7:05 p.m. PT) when they host the Vancouver Giants for Hat Trick Wednesday. Enjoy the game with a pop and hot dog for only $19.99; tickets must be purchased before 2 pm on game day. Tickets are on sale at selectyourtickets.com, at the Prospera Place box office or by phone at 250-762-5050.
Season tickets are on sale now. Season ticket holders will have first right of refusal on 2020 Memorial Cup presented by Kia ticket packages.