Rockets fire Foote

Daily Herald File Photo Adam Foote watches the play from the bench as the Kelowna Rockets make a line change at the Art Hauser Centre in December.

The 2020 Memorial Cup host Kelowna Rockets made a major shakeup to their team on Wednesday as they fired head coach Adam Foote.

“The team has struggled since the Christmas break,” Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton said in a prepared statement.

“With fourteen games remaining in the regular season, I felt a change was necessary at this time.”

The Rockets, who are in fourth place in the B.C. Division with a 24-26-2-2 record and are currently two points ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds for the first wild card spot in the Western Conference, have posted a 3-11-1-0 mark since the Western Hockey League trade deadline on Jan. 10.

Their most recent setback came on Monday as they coughed up a 5-1 lead after 40 minutes and dropped a 6-5 affair to the Calgary Hitmen on home ice.

Foote, who was hired on Oct. 23, 2018 when the Rockets fired Jason Smith, posted a 48-49-8-4 record behind the bench for the club.

The Rockets competed in a tiebreaker game last March but lost 5-1 to the Kamloops Blazers and missed the post-season for the first time since 2007.

Kris Millette, who has been an assistant coach with the program since 2014, has been promoted to be their interim head coach ahead of a Friday night road game against the Victoria Royals.

The last host team to make a coaching change prior to the tournament was the 1993-94 Laval Titan, who made it to the QMJHL finals and the Memorial Cup championship game before losing to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens and the Blazers respectively.