Sports

A wild month for Brett Bulmer

Kelowna Rockets forward Brett Bulmer of Prince George skates the puck into the offensive zone against the Cougars during Saturday night
Kelowna Rockets forward Brett Bulmer of Prince George skates the puck into the offensive zone against the Cougars during Saturday night's game at CN Centre.
— image credit: Alistair McINNIS/Free Press

In only one month, Brett Bulmer has been through a barrage of battles.

Hopeful he’d play pro, the 19-year-old Prince George product played nine games with the Minnesota Wild before getting reassigned to the Kelowna Rockets. The move by the Wild came after Bulmer was a healthy scratch for what would’ve been his 10th NHL game, a contest against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 29 in Minnesota. Had he suited up for that contest, his entry-level contract would’ve kicked in. With Bulmer out of the lineup, people were already suspecting the move which happened two days later.

When Bulmer rejoined the Rockets on Oct. 31, he returned to an organization struggling near the bottom of the WHL Western Conference standings. And he left the team again last week, this time to join other all-stars on Team WHL for Game 5 of the Subway Super Series against Russia, last Wednesday in Regina.

Then along came Friday, which marked Bulmer’s return back to his hometown. The Rockets swept the Cougars in the weekend doubleheader at CN Centre, winning 3-2 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday.

While the season is still young, the 2011-12 campaign has already been a rollercoaster ride for Bulmer. Sparing a few minutes outside of the Rockets’ dressing room following Saturday’s win, he said the Minnesota team staff told him they sent him back to junior so he’d get more development time.

“They maybe thought I could have played there, but they just wanted me to get a lot of minutes,” Bulmer said. “Down here I’ll get every situation, so I’ll build for next year and make that hockey club.”

Bulmer never registered a goal in nine games with the Wild, but he managed three assists and six penalty minutes.

Looking at the glass half full, being back in junior presents another possibility for Bulmer, something much bigger than a Subway Super Series game. He wants to suit up for Team Canada at the next World Junior Hockey Championships, scheduled for Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Calgary and Edmonton. He’ll find out within the next couple of weeks if he gets an invite for the national team’s final selection camp.

“(I want to) just bring it every night and be consistent in how I play, and get this team on a winning track,” he said.

Although held off the scoresheet in Regina, Bulmer suited up for a WHL squad which defeated the Russians 5-2. Although Russia defeated Team WHL the next night, 7-5 in Moose Jaw, the Canadian Hockey League team won the six-game set with a 3-2-1 record.

Bulmer skated on a line with a couple of other B.C. products and divisional rivals, Brendan Gallagher (Vancouver Giants) and Kevin Sundher (Victoria Royals).

“They’re good players. Obviously I play against them a lot,” he said.

Bulmer had no shortage of support in the stands on the weekend. His father Lance, mother Sharon and 22-year-old brother Kyle were among family and friends who watched him skate against the Cougars. His 16-year-old brother Lance was playing hockey in Kelowna and unable to attend.

“Obviously coming up here, it’s a long road trip and you don’t want to waste it,” Bulmer said. “You want to get both the wins, so it’s nice that we’re on the winning track right now.”

Bulmer has recorded 10 points (three goals and seven assists) in seven games this season.

The Rockets sit fourth in the five-team B.C. Division with a record of eight wins, 11 losses, two overtime setbacks and one shootout defeat (8-11-2-1) in 22 games. The last-place Cougars (6-15-0-2) were five points behind the Rockets entering Tuesday night’s home game against the Central Division-leading Kootenay Ice (15-5-1-2).

The Rockets and Cougars meet again tonight in Kelowna. Bulmer expects the visiting team to enter the game a hungry bunch.

“Anytime you lose twice to a hockey club, you want to get payback,” he said. “But it’s not a problem for us. We’re going to play hard at home.”

 

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