|Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews|
- I would like to start with the one year anniversary of the Regina Pats being purchased by Queen City Sports and Entertainement Group. Monday marked the 12 month calendar year and what a year it was. In one year under Anthony Marquart, Todd Lumbard, Shawn and Gavin Semple and Jason Drummond the team took some big steps forward.
On the hockey side the hiring of eventual 2015 WHL Coach of the year John Paddock alongside Assistant Coaches Dave Struch and Darrin McKechnie who led the team to their first second round playoff appearance since 2008.
The ownership also oversaw the installation of a brand new, state of the art center ice score clock at the Brandt Centre. New staff was added including Marty Klyne as COO, Gord Pritchard as Assistant to the GM, Mark Rathwell as VP of Communications, Kellin Enslev Director of Ticket Sales, Karen Magnus in Merchandise and Gord Cochran as Equipment Manager.
Co-owner and Governor Anthony Marquart says it's been a fast year but one he is proud of. "A year has gone by really quick, it's been a great year, a great learning experience and one of many years still to come... We took the team over a year ago and with that really didn't really have the opportunity to meet any of the staff on the business or hockey side so we jumped in with both feet. All in all it was a successful first year."
I can't wait for whats in store for the years to come!
- The Pats held their annual Spring Camp over the weekend and it was the best one I've seen talent wise in my previous 4 seasons with the club. From top to bottom the prospects look very promising and there will be some tough decisions not only this year but in the next two years as to who will make this team. Just in terms of the 1998 born kinds coming into their 17-year-old seasons there are some big decisions. In 2014/15 Sam Steel, Luc Smith and Ryan Krushen were the three 16-year-old's on the roster with Jake Elmer and Brady Pouteau joining the team in the playoffs. At Spring Camp the Pats invited Sam Steel, Liam Schioler, Sean Richards, Riley Woods, Jared Freadrich, Trygve Many Guns and Kurtis Champman. Sam Steel is obviously going to be on the team and there are potentially another 3 or 4 of those guys who could conceivably make the jump based on what I saw this weekend. Liam Schioler, if he commits is a no brainer as well but I was very impressed with this group of guys. You add that to the returning 1997 age group who will now be 18 and this team could be one of, if not the youngest team in the league depending on what the coaching staff decide to do. Jake Leschyshyn is the one guarantee as a 16-year-old this season and then you can add potentials in Erik Gardiner, Robbie Holmes, Gary Haden, Zach Cox, Adam Sandstrom, Riley Bruce and Jordan Hollett. Wow lots of good young talent. The future is very bright.
- Really good to see the Pats 1st round pick in 2015 Dawson Barteaux sign with the club yesterday. I was really impressed with him at Spring Camp. Very smooth skater and will be a big kid as he ages. I imagine we will see a few more announcements like these in the months before the start of the season.
- The Regina Thunder announced 33 signings on Monday for CJFL Signing Day. Many of them the top guys coming out of high school in the province int heir positions. QB Sawyer Beuttner is a fantastic player and you add in receivers Jobie Taylor, Kris Calcutt and Lee Brown and the offense is going to be so potent going forward. Those four were very impressive at the Thunder Spring Camp in early May. Head Coach Scott MacAulay says the fact so many top players are coming to Regina says a lot. "I think it says a lot about the program. Erwin Klempner did a fantastic job taking it to where it was and then the new regime came in here and we created a five year plan and really had a huge focus of trying to compete with the CIS teams to get some of the elite athletes. I think that we are finally starting to see what we developed three years ago come to fruition. It's a good time for the Regina Thunder and I think it makes a huge statement to the rest of the teams that we are legitimately here and are a team of choice." Click here is the full list of the 2015 Regina Thunder signings.
- The Regina Red Sox got out of the gate on the right foot on Friday with a 9-1 win over the visiting Weyburn Beavers but then dropped two straight Saturday and Sunday to fall to 1 and 2 on the year. It was really a story of a bad inning in each game for Regina. It's early on and obviously no need for panic, the team isn't all here yet and might not be until after their road trip this weekend. Some players are expected to join the team in Edmonton on Saturday and Sunday and the rest likely early next week. One guy who is really shinning in the early going is Canadian Geoff Seto who is batting .600 through the first three games and has 3 RBI. The Red Sox are in Melville tonight to kick off four straight on the road. Next home game is next Tuesday against Moose Jaw at 7 o'clock.
- A lot of news this week coming out of Lethbridge when it comes to the Hurricanes. The team will announce it's new head coach at a news conference tomorrow and they have signed the 2nd overall pick in 2014 Jordy Bellerive. That's huge news for the club, Bellerive put up 114 points in his Bantam Draft year and followed that up with 34 goals and 49 points last year in his first year of midget. he will be fun to watch this upcoming season. Assistant coach Bryan Maxwell and the team have parted ways so there will be a new look staff there this year. The club also held a vote on whether to sell the team to private ownership on Monday night. The vote needed 75 per cent approval from stakeholders of the community owned club but only got 68. This essentially means any sale is dead. I wonder what WHL Commissioner Ron Robison is thinking now, he recommended the sale and has vocalized his desire for private ownership in the market.
- Congratulations to the Oshawa Generals on winning their 5th MasterCard Memorial Cup in Franchise history on Sunday night beating the Kelowna Rockets in OT 2-1. I can't imagine how the Rockets feel after losing that game, I'm not sure if I could handle it if it was the Pats but one thing is for sure they did the WHL very proud. A great tournament all around.
- The Stanley Cup Final starts tonight in Tampa Bay and I can't wait. I feel like I'm in withdrawal from hockey after watching an NHL and Memorial Cup Game every night for the last couple weeks and then not having anything the last two days. I've got the Blackhawks to win it all but I would really like to see Steven Stamkos win a cup.
- Former Regina Pats forward Dyson Stevenson is currently playing for the Kelly Cup in the ECHL with the Allen Americans against the South Carolina Stingrays. His club won last night at home and Dyson scored a goal and added an assist in the 5-2 victory. Dyson has three points in the first two games of the championship that is tied at a game a piece. The three points is double his offensive output for the first 16 games of the playoffs.
- Jordan Weal and the Manchester Monarchs finally have an opponent for the Calder Cup Finals. The Utica Comets clinched the Western Conference with a game 6 win last night over the Grand Rapids Griffins. The championship series will have a bit of a Pats storyline to it. Weal of course being a former player and former head coach Pat Conacher is the Director of Player Personnel for Utica. Conacher coached Weal in his 19 year old season in Regina. What's really incredible is that the Monarchs have never been to the Calder Cup before and the Comets just joined the league 19 months ago.
- Former Regina Pats captain Garrett Mitchell has re-signed with the Washington Capitals. He picked up another 2 year, 2 way contract. Big congrats Mitchy!
- Unfortunately I don't have anything to offer on the Riders training camp. I do know however that Rod and Luc Mullinder are killing it with their coverage on the Sportscage and on their respective blogs. It's almost as good as being there to watch.
That's it from me today, have a great week!