Shoulder problems got in the way of Carter Rigby having a better season with the Kelowna Rockets.
The Penticton minor hockey product was limited to 34 regular season games and saw action in just three playoff games, all against their rival Kamloops Blazers.
Upon returning from a second shoulder injury that kept him out for 2.5 months, Rigby said he felt he played pretty well in Game 2 of the second round. Rigby described his year as tough since he got off to a slow start, which affected his confidence. In October, he hurt his shoulder the first time that forced him to miss 14 games. Upon his return he scored a hat trick in an 8-2 win over the Everett Silvertips. Asked if he would change his style of play, Rigby said no.
“That’s the last thing I want to do,” said the six-foot, 201 pound forward. “The only way I’m going to be effective is to go out and crash and bang. Create energy and cause trouble.”
His list of highlights from the season is short and sweet.
“I guess just the back-to-back hat trick games against Vancouver and Seattle,” he said. “That was pretty cool. Had three hat tricks.”
Accomplishing that gave Rigby confidence as he stepped up his play after Christmas. Much to his disappointment, doctors told him he had to shut his season down because of his shoulders. This off-season will be focused on training and rehabilitating. As a 19-year-old entering his third season with the Rockets, Rigby would like to take on a bigger role. He’d like to get more power play and penalty killing time.
In returning to face the Blazers during the second round, he also played against former minor hockey teammate, Matt Needham.
“It’s always good facing Matt,” said Rigby, who also played with the Penticton Vees and Osoyoos Coyotes before joining the Rockets. “He’s such a good player now. He’s such a hard worker and he competes. He will get his named called this year at the draft. He deserves it.”
Playing against Needham who he has grown up with has been fun.
“He’s just another kid on the other team. Just think of each other as enemies in a way,” said Rigby jokingly.