Rockets have bigger role in mind for Bodie
The Kelowna Rockets are looking for forward Troy Bodie to contribute more this season, both on the score sheet and with his physical play. Bodie had two points in the club’s season opener on Saturday. No more waiting in the wings.
After two seasons of filling mostly supporting roles, Troy Bodie is ready to move his act to centre stage for the defending Memorial Cup champions.
“All the learning years and trying to get into the lineup have paid off and they’re behind him now,” said Kelowna Rockets assistant coach Ryan Huska. “He’s a big part of our offense and he has to be a physical force. He’ll be a key to our success this season.”
The Rockets are expecting a breakout season from Bodie in 2004-05 and so far the 6-4, 215-pound native of Portage la Prairie, Man., is responding on the score sheet.
Bodie connected for a hat trick in a 5-0 win over Kamloops in the final game of the exhibition season on Sept. 18, then added a goal and an assist in the club’s season opening loss to Everett on Saturday night at Prospera Place while playing on a line with Tyler Spurgeon and Lauris Darzins.
It was during last year’s WHL playoff run that Bodie’s potential really began to emerge, both as an offensive threat and a physical presence when he scored seven goals and added three assists in 17 games.
Bodie had just 12 goals in his first 106 WHL regular season games.
“When I came here as a 17-year-old, I was kind of a project and I had no idea if I was going to get to stay. I don’t know if I was really ready to play in the league,” said Bodie.
“I started to feel last season like I belonged here. Hopefully I can contribute a lot more this year.”
Bodie would gradually earn more and more ice time while adding a physical element to his game which had been virtually absent for much of his rookie season.
He dropped the gloves 14 times during the 2003-04 campaign while spending considerable time making life miserable for opposing defenceman and goaltenders.
While Bodie’s job may feature more of an offensive slant than last season, don’t expect the lanky forward to change the way he approaches the game.
“I’ve got the size and weight to be a power forward and that’s the way I need to play,” added Bodie, a ninth-round draft choice of the Edmonton Oilers in 2003. “I might not fight as much, but I’m not going to take any garbage either. I’m going to try and do what the team needs me to do.”
As for the pressure and responsibility attached to defending a Memorial Cup title, Bodie prefers the Rockets current situation over that of 19 other teams in the WHL.
Besides, the prospects of a second Memorial Cup ring is more than enough to keep him motivated on a daily basis.
“It’d sure be nice to have a ring for the other hand, one to balance it out,” Bodie said with a smile.
Rocket Shots…The Rockets (0-1-0-0) host the division-rival Kootenay Ice (1-0-1-0) tonight at 7 at Prospera Place…The Rockets have assigned forward Myles McRae to Abbotsford of the B.C. Hockey League. McRae, 16, played in the club’s season opener Saturday night vs. Everett…Stewart Thiessen, 19, has been reassigned to the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers but will be on call to the Rockets should they need a defenceman on short notice…