Rockies’ Kinaschuk having excellent rookie year

Kayde Kinaschuk has been an integral player for the Columbia Valley Rockies. Mark Teterenko photo


Kayde Kinaschuk of the Columbia Valley Rockies feels he’s had a very solid rookie season in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

He’s happy with his consistency contributing to team success. The Calgary product credits his linemates for helping him produce. Kinaschuk, who turned 19 in December, last played a full season with the Calgary Flames U18 AAA program and said among the adjustments he needed to make playing in the KIJHL was calming himself down and simplifying his game. He also needed to “trust my teammates more. Since then, things have been working out pretty well for me and my team.”

Kinaschuk is the league’s second highest point producer, and the leading rookie with 53 points in 37 games. He leads the league with 32 goals. Throughout his minor hockey career, Kinaschuk has shown the ability to score and coming into this season, he carried that confidence to produce.

“When I came here my goal was to dominate as much as I can out there,” said Kinaschuk, who recorded his first hat-trick on Feb. 4. “It’s been working out pretty good and my linemates are good for my game. They have been helping me dominate this year.”

Kinaschuk views himself as a skilled, offensive forward who uses his strong hockey sense to create scoring chances and moves the puck well. He’s also responsible in his own end. 

Rockies Head Coach Briar McNaney said at the start of the season he expected Kinaschuk to produce.

“He brings a certain dynamic to our offence. His shot and elusiveness around the ice, he will contribute in many ways, besides offence,” said McNaney. “He has the ability with a competitive nature and high hockey IQ to contribute.”

The five-11, 165-pound forward credits McNaney and his staff for the work they have done to develop him.

“I can’t really thank them enough for all the opportunities they have given me,” said Kinaschuk. “The trust and respect they have in me, gives me confidence to play well out there. I have definitely improved my leadership skills. I feel like my defensive game has improved.”

Kinaschuk has also sacrificed his body and earned the trust of the coaches to have him out there at any time.

Kinaschuk came to Columbia Valley as McNaney and GM Wade Dubielewicz had been communicating with him for a few years.

“They have been really good to me. It’s pretty close to my hometown and my family comes out a lot,” he said. “They persuaded me a lot to come here.”

To give himself a chance to advance to a higher level, Kinaschuk came into the season wanting to put up as many points as possible and has done that. Of his 32 goals, 14 have come on the power-play to lead the league and five are game-winners, which rank sixth in the league.