The pipeline of hockey talent from the Kelowna Rockets to the National Hockey League continued Thursday as 19-year-old forward Kole Lind signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks.
Lind, who was selected by the Canucks in the second round, 33rd overall, of the 2017 NHL Draft, is having a career year with 85 points (35G-50A) in 51 games. He needs just two more points to equal his career-high of 87 points set last year in 70 games.
“Kole has had an outstanding season in Kelowna despite missing games due to illness and injury,” Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a release issued by the team. “We’ve been impressed not only with his high-end offensive skill but also in the way he battles, sees the ice and makes plays in the defensive end. We’re excited for him to continue his development and provide further forward depth for our organization.”
As a part of this year’s 35-goal campaign, he has 13 power-play goals, one short-handed goal, and seven game-winning goals this season as the Rockets have reclaimed their spot at the top of the B.C. Division. This year, Lind leads the Rockets in scoring while also sitting 10th in the WHL scoring race and third among Western Conference skaters for points this season.
He has seven multi-goal games this year, including three hat tricks, and has 23 multi-point games this season as well. Lind was recognized by the WHL at the beginning of the season as the WHL On the Run Player of the Week for the week ending Sept. 24. He also earned CHL Player of the Week honours over the same time period.
The 6-foot-1, 173-pound product of Shaunavon, Sask. was originally selected in the fourth round, 87th overall, by the Rockets in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. Since then, he’s appeared in 197 WHL regular season games, registering 214 points (79G-135A) including 19 power-play goals, two short-handed goals and 16 game-winning goals. He also represented the WHL at the 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series and was one of 13 WHL players invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Selection Camp ahead of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Lind has also appeared in 40 career WHL playoff games, recording 15 points (6G-9A) including two power-play goals.
Enjoying a seven-point lead over the Victoria Royals for the B.C. Division lead, the Rockets are back in action on the road Friday, March 2 (7:35 p.m. PST) to take on the Everett Silvertips.