Highly skilled Chuck Kobasew, who left Boston College to join the Kelowna Rockets has continued to give fans and management of the Rockets more excitement than they can handle and he hasn’t even played a game yet. As was written in my article yesterday, Kobasew was slated for an opening day roster spot with the Calgary Flames, however the Flames and Kobasew’s agent were unable to come to contract terms and he was returned to junior yesterday afternoon.
After scoring five goals in six exhibition games for the offensively starved Flames, Kobasew looked like a lock to dress for Calgary’s opener against arch-rival Edmonton tonight, however, a deal couldn’t be consummated in order for Chuck to be in the line up, so he was sent to Kelowna. So for now, Rockets fans will be hoping Kobasew can give them as much excitement on the ice as he has off the ice so far.
Bruce Hamilton took a risk this past summer and sent forward Chris DiUbaldo plus futures to the Prince George Cougars for the rights to Kobasew who at the time was still a member of the Boston College Eagles. Hamilton gambled that he could talk the Osoyoos native into coming to Kelowna and play close to family and friends, but at first it appeared Chuck was going to stay at school. However, after a visit to Kelowna and some soul searching, Kobasew opted to forego his final three years of a full ride scholarship at Boston College and play for the Rockets. All seemed peachy in Ogopogo land.
Chuck was no longer in need of protecting his college eligibility so next up on his agenda was a spin at the Flames training camp and after an admittedly slow start, the exhibition season started and Chuck was scoring on a regular basis, finishing with five goals in six games. Then the worst news of all for Rocket fans and management, Chuck earned an opening day roster spot, with only a small thing like a contract holding up his dream of playing in the NHL. Unfortunately for Kobasew, but great for Kelowna, the Flames and Kobasew’s agent were too far apart to get a contract done and yesterday afternoon the rejoicing could begin in earnest for the Rockets. Chuck was on his way!
This will have a big impact on the “Special K’s” in the WHL’s B.C. division, as the Rockets and Blazers currently sit in a little better position than their rival in Kootenay. While no Kobasew in Kelowna likely put Kamloops at the front of the pack according to most, his impact in Kelowna should be enough to make it a race too close to call between Kamloops and Kelowna, with the Kootenay Ice still clinging to the remote chance of Dan Blackburn returning and the quick recovery of highly skilled Jarett Stoll allowing the Ice to keep pace. They still might, even with the loss of Blackburn and Stoll, however locked and loaded Blazer and Rocket teams will be tough to keep pace with when your playing unproven goaltenders and firing on less than all cylinders.