Tri-City Americans

Former Ams pick stars for Rockets

Sometimes, things just aren't meant to be.

For Lucas Bloodoff, that thing was playing for the Tri-City Americans.

Tri-City drafted Bloodoff in the sixth round of the Western Hockey League bantam draft in 2004. After attending two Americans preseason camps, Bloodoff told general manager Bob Tory he didn't see himself playing for the team.

Tory respected Bloodoff's wishes and traded his rights to the Kelowna Rockets in June 2006.

"I was so young at the time," said Bloodoff, a native of Castle-gar, B.C., which is about three hours from Kelowna. "I didn't know if I wanted to go WHL or NCAA. I was just starting out and I didn't have anyone to guide me. Committing for four years was a big deal.

"Tri-City is a great organization and I appreciate Bob giving me a chance to go to Kelowna."

The trade paid off for Bloodoff, who was able to join his younger brother Evan, whom the Rockets drafted in the sixth round of the 2005 bantam draft. The brothers, just 18 months apart, made their WHL debuts with the Rockets in September 2006.

"It had nothing to do with Tri-City," Bloodoff said. "They had all the bells and whistles, but it was about me and Evan sticking together."

Whereas Evan is a smooth skater with a bit more of an offensive touch with the puck, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Lucas is known more for his grit and physical play.

This season, Bloodoff had 13 goals, 15 assists and 95 penalty minutes in 51 regular-season games. He missed a few weeks with a knee sprain.

"Being a bigger guy, I keep things simple and I win battles in the corner," Bloodoff said.

Bloodoff, the Rockets team captain, has four goals, four assists and 21 penalty minutes in 11 playoff games going into today's do-or-die game at Toyota Center against the Americans.

"We still have a chance to get back in it," he said. "We've gotten away from what made us successful."

As an overage player, Bloodoff isn't sure what the future holds as his WHL career comes to a close.

Last fall, he attended the Phoenix Coyotes rookie camp with Evan, who was drafted by the Coyotes in the sixth round in the 2009 NHL draft.

"Being a free agent, I had a couple of choices, but I chose to go to Phoenix with Evan," Bloodoff said. "I've had a good 20 year and I hope to have a good playoffs. Hopefully, we have a long playoff run and when it's all said and done there will be an opportunity for me."