|Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews|
- First I want to talk about what has me the most excited today. The Toronto Blue Jays. Prior to last weeks big trades I would watch most games and then turn them off if things went off the rails in the later innings but now I feel like I can't miss a pitch. The excitement around this team since acquiring David Price is just incredible and I think people across the country are caught up in it. They went out and won 3 of 4 against the Kansas City Royals who held the MLB's best record going into the series and have now won two in a row over the Minnesota Twins who had held the final wild card spot in the American League before the Blue Jays trades. Not even a week later the Jays are into a playoff spot and have gained a game and a half on the AL East Division leading Yankees. The pitching has been great and the offense deadly. It's going to make for an awesome next couple of months.
- The Regina Red Sox got off to a great start in the playoffs with home wins over Yorkton on Sunday and Monday. The club dropped game 3 on the road last night however and lead the best of 5 series 2 games to 1. Tonight is game 4 in Yorkton and Game 5 if necessary would go tomorrow night at Currie Field.
- Just a quick thought on the Riders. I think the right decision was made by Brenden Taman to back his head coach. Corey Chamblin being fired just wouldn't make any sense. When I heard those reports out of Winnipeg I was blown away but in the end they proved false. Vince Lombardi couldn't come in here and save this season considering all the injuries and everything else. Making a change now would just mean another salary to pay for the same results. Not to mention Chamblin has proven a winner in previous years when all hell doesn't break loose so I am not going to give up on him just yet.
- Regina Pats forward Sam Steel is among 12 players from the WHL who have made Team Canada for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Bratislava, Slovakia. The 12 WHLers is the most of any league in Canada. The Canadians have won the tournament seven years running. The tournament runs August 10th to 15th. The last Pat to play in the event was Morgan Klimchuk.
- The Pats also made news by adding to their scouting staff on Tuesday: Drew Callander and Ken Schneider. Callander played for the Pats from 1973-76 and won a Memorial Cup in 1974. He had previously been scouting with the Calgary Hitmen. Schneider played his junior with the Brandon Wheat Kings and has been heavily involved in minor hockey in Manitoba. In the release from the team Head Coach and Senior VP of Hockey Operations said he 'has excellent knowledge of of players in Manitoba.' The Pats now employ 17 scouts.
- Former Regina Pats forward Patrick D'Amico has signed his first pro contract with the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL. D'Amico just finished summer development camp with the New Jersey Devils and an announcement is expected soon that the Eagles will become the Devils East Coast farm team. Real good news for Patrick who has come a long way from making the Pats as a camp invite at 18.
- The Regina Thunder continue training camp this week ahead of Saturday's pre-season game in Medicine Hat against the Calgary Colts. It was a great opening weekend for the Thunder and this team is ready for a big year. The talent is really noticeable from the veterans on down to the 18-year-old rookies. There are 88 players in camp and here is a breakdown at each position.
Quarterbacks: Marwick, Beuttner, Tuba, Grain and Carrier.
-Markwick is the guy this year but Beuttner will push him and will get some playing time late in games if the Thunder are ahead.
Runningbacks: Klassen, St. Pierre, Bjorge, Dong, Grasdal, Hautz, Kuxhaus, Dyck, Griffin, Eckert and Ruckaber.
-Klassen looks primed for a great season in his second year with the club. St. Pierre was with the Winnipeg Rifles last season but got his release from the team and he will get some carries this year I imagine. A good one two punch from what I have seen so far.
Receivers: Bews, Bresciani, Brown, Calcutt, Desautels, Drozda, Fortin, Nichols, Ocaya, Paul, Peterson Renouf, Taylor, Bossence, Wingenbach and Thompson.
- Bews is the leader of the pack in the receiving corps. Into his second year on the practice squad with the Riders and he will have a big year. Add returnees Bresciani, Desautels, Ocaya and the likes plus the young guys in Brown, Calcutt and Taylor and there is a ton of talent and competition.
Offensive Line: Deschene, Ferland, Halbegewachs, Knight, Lipp, Mitchell, Moroz, Myers, Teskey, Baber, Braden, Rossignol, Wallace, Woit and Elliot.
-This is a deep group led by Matt Halbegewachs who was with the Riders this year, and Kyle Deschene. They are big, strong and athletic. One of the biggest strengths of the team.
Defensive Line: Bell, Criddle, Gibb, Giovannetti, Hein, Lubiak, Nykiforuk, Warner, Williams, Cyr, Easton, Robertson, Turnbull, Bright and Ritco.
- Lots of returning guys who will look to build and get better one season later. Giovannetti had a strong season last year as did Ryan Warner. Ben Criddle too. Bell comes to the Thunder from the Rams if I am not mistaken and definitely adds to the group.
Linebackers: Barrett, Moffatt, Pelletier, Seck, Siebrecht, Smith, Toth, Wilchynski, Douglas, Keating, Richardson and Shepherd.
- Lots of competition here in camp as five guys graduated at the linebacker position after last year. Paul Toth is a third year guy who will likely be among the starters.
Defensive Backs: Dick, Erbach, Filyk, Goudy, Hall, Holobroff-Avram, Lizenberger, Lowes, Mayer, McAlpine, Menegbo, Vien, Ward, Bells, Ellis, Latoski and Martin.
- Four of the starting five return from last year. The only departure was safety Chris Tunnicliffe and Marcus Hall has been in his spot to start camp. Erbach and McAlpine will lead this group but there is a lot of young talent pushing the returning starters.
- Receiver Kris Calcutt has also been auditioning in the kicking game doing field goals. Findura is mainly a punter but the coaching staff would like to see one of those guys do both so not to take up a travelling spot.
The coaching staff has done a heck of a job as well led by Scott MacAulay. Brent Glen has stepped in as the new defencive coordinator while Stefan Endsin is back for another year running the offense. Then add in the likes of Ventson Donaldson who is working with the DB's and Luc Mullinder with the defensive line along with all the other assistants and it is one heck of a crew. They open the regular season at home Saturday August 15th against Winnipeg. Hopefully see you there!
That's all I've got for today. Have a great week.