Hef­fley happy to be with one of the WHL’s model fran­chises

Southwest Booster - - SPORTS - STEVEN MAH SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

Colton Hef­fley’s re­turn home couldn’t have gone much bet­ter. The Swift Cur­rent na­tive scored a goal, dropped the gloves for a sec­ond-pe­riod fight, and, most im­por­tantly, his Kelowna Rock­ets won their sev­enth straight game in a 4-2 win over the Swift Cur­rent Bron­cos Tues­day to open a gru­el­ing road trip.

“It felt re­ally good,” said Hef­fley af­ter the Rock­ets’ win to open their six-game East Di­vi­sion road swing. “It was a fast game and a fun game.

“We got two points so it doesn’t get much bet­ter than that.”

He dropped the mitts in the sec­ond pe­riod against Bron­cos’ de­fense­man Brett Lernout for a spir­ited tilt.

“Yeah I have a lot of friends and fam­ily here and they all wanted to see a fight so I thought I would try and start some­thing up,” ex­plained Hef­fley.

“They are a good team,” said Hef­fley af­ter fac­ing his home­town Bron­cos. “They are phys­i­cal and their D-men are good. They played a tight de­fen­sive game and it is a great team and they pushed us hard.”

Hef­fley has 12 points, 39 penalty min­utes, and a plus-four rat­ing in 31 games in his fourth Western Hockey League sea­son.

“I am kind of the shut­down guy here, PK guy mostly,” said the 6’3’’, 206pound for­ward. “Ev­ery once in a while I get to go on the powerplay, but I like my role. It helps the boys win, so what­ever helps take the win.”

He is now a vet­eran of 203 reg­u­lar sea­son games and 25 play­off games in the WHL.

“For sure I am a lot more ma­ture player,” he said af­ter his 199th reg­u­lar sea­son game in a Rock­ets jersey. “I have be­come a lot more re­spon­si­ble in the Dzone for sure, and just go­ing to the net more and be­ing a more ag­gres­sive player.”

The Rock­ets have only three reg­u­la­tion loss in their first 32 games this sea­son and have al­lowed a league low 80 goals. They don’t have a player in the top 25 in league scor­ing but fea­ture eight play­ers with 23 or more points.

“We roll four lines and six D. Ev­ery­one has got skill on this team and we don’t have to rely on one guy and put the pres­sure on him so that for sure helps us out a lot.”

Hef­fley, 19, has been a Rocket since the fran­chise drafted him in the sec­ond round, 39th over­all, in the 2009 WHL Ban­tam Draft.

“It is an awe­some or­ga­ni­za­tion. I have ev­ery­thing good to say about it and noth­ing bad to say about it. It is a great or­ga­ni­za­tion, Bruce [Hamil­ton] is a great GM and owner and it just goes from him at the top and all the way down it is just great.”

The Rock­ets cur­rently lead the WHL with a 27-30-2 record and the vet­eran team has am­bi­tious goals af­ter get­ting out to an in­cred­i­ble start.

“The ul­ti­mate goal is al­ways to win the Me­mo­rial Cup, so hope­fully we can get there. We are just go­ing to take it one game at a time and hope­fully get there,” Hef­fley ex­plained. Swift Cur­rent’s Colton Hef­fley (right) made a suc­cess­ful re­turn home with the Kelowna Rock­ets De­cem­ber 10 when he scored a goal and dropped the gloves dur­ing a 4-2 win over the Bron­cos.

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