Induction Year: 2010
President & GM Kelowna Rockets Governor WHL Family: Wife, Laureen; Children, Jill and Curtis Bruce Hamilton is a dedicated hockey professional who has experienced all facets of participation in the WHL league.
Three-year player (1973-1976) with his hometown Saskatoon Blades, Bruce was drafted 81st overall in the 1977 NHL Draft by the St. Louis Blues. He began his successful managerial career as Director of Player Personnel and Assistant Coach for the Blades in 1981 following a professional hockey career that culminated in an Allen Cup Championship with the Spokane Flyers of the Western International Hockey League. He was later named Assistant Coach and Director of Scouting for the Blades before moving on to both the Hartford Whalers and Washington Capitals of the NHL as Chief Western Scout.
Bruce joined the Saskatoon Fire Department in 1985 and treasures the memories and his time in this endeavour. In 1991-92 Bruce acquired ownership in the expansion Tacoma Rockets, the expansion Rockets blasted their way to one of the most memorable inaugural seasons in the 30-year history of the Western Hockey League chalking up the highest per-game average for a first-year expansion team under the Canadian Hockey League umbrella.
The 1995-96 season saw significant change to the entire Rockets organization, the decision to bring the Rockets to Kelowna, British Columbia, its rich history in hockey and the prospect of a new arena made Kelowna the natural choice. Kelowna Rockets went to three straight Memorial Cup tournaments in the years 2003, 2004 and 2005 and again in the 2008-09 season. They won the Memorial Cup for the first time in franchise history in 2004, coincidentally the same year they were selected to host the event. In the 19 years since acquiring ownership in the expansion Tacoma (now Kelowna) Rockets franchise in 1991, Bruce has served in his current role of President, General Manager and Governor of Kelowna Rockets Hockey Enterprises LTD. (WHL), also spent six years as Chairman of the Western Hockey League’s Board of Governors.
Under his direction, the Kelowna Rockets Organization is committed to the development of its personnel both as players and successful people. The building of a rich tradition and alumni atmosphere are guiding principles under Hamilton’s leadership. The NHL Alumni continues to grow rapidly as with star players: Duncan Keith, Chuck Kobasew, Luke Schenn, Jamie Benn, Kyle Cumiskey, Josh Gorges, Tyler Myers, Sheldon Souray, Pat Conacher, Alexander Edler, Todd Fedoruk, Vern Fiddler, Scott Hannan, Travis Moen, Scott Parker and Shea Weber.
The Rockets have only missed the playoffs once in their history and continue to have very successful years. 2001-2002 Regular Season Champions Western Conference Finalists 2002-2003 WHL Champions Memorial Cup Semi-Finalists 2003-2004 BC Division Champions Regular Season Champions Western Conference Finalists Memorial Cup Host and Champions 2004-2005 WHL Champions Memorial Cup (Lost) 2005-2006 Western Conference Semi-Final (Lost) 2007-2008 Western Conference Quarter-Final (Lost) 2008-2009 WHL Champions Memorial Cup (Lost).