|Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews|
HOCKEY IS BACK! - The Regina Pats and the rest of the WHL are set to start, or have started, their 2016 training camps. The Pats will open theirs Saturday at the Co-Operators Arena.
Head Coach and GM John Paddock says it should be a good weekend to start the year."I think we are all looking forward to it. The players that have been here for two years, you know they change every year and dwindle a little bit and new players come in but they know the program, they know the gig so to speak. Brooks, Steel, Leschyshyn, Wagner, Zborovskiy, Hobbs, those type of guys. So I think everybody should be feeling comfortable, I think everybody should be feeling confident in themselves and confident in the organization that we are a good place to play and that we are going to be a competitive team."
Paddock on how he feels about the potential for this years team. "You are only as good as your last game or I look at it in another way, you don't win anything on paper. Just because we are a year older with much of the same group, it's what did you do to improve in the summer, what are you going to do during the season. We need the same kind of performance and better from these guys, basically better because they are a year older. We look like we could be all right on paper but paper doesn't win anything."
The Pats will return 17 players from last years club but Paddock says there are still decisions to be made. "Not so much the goaltending but I think there is not a lot of decisions but there is decisions to make on defence and up front. Based on our initial thoughts we've got about 15 or 16 forwards that we think are capable of playing or that we are going to give every opportunity to play in the league and we probably have 9 or 10 defencemen that we think are capable of playing in the league. They all can't play so there is some decisions to make. I hope that they are actually tough enough that I/we have to make them. Usually the players make the decision for themselves, you can't be a blind man and do it but you make the decisions. For us I hope that's the case where we actually have to make a decision."
Paddock says just because a player played last year, it doesn't mean his place is secure this time around. "Spots are open, there are jobs to be won and lost. If there are two centerman who are better than Adam brooks and Sam Steel then they will be the 3rd and 4th centers, that's how you approach it. There isn't but guys being back doesn't have a lot to do with it. we are adding some people that are going to play on the hockey team. We moved some people in the summer but Filip Ahl is going to be on the hockey team, Dawson Leedahl is going to be on the hockey team, Nick henry will be on the hockey team when we come to some agreement. Those people are going to be on the hockey team and they are going to contribute so some people are going to be moved about."
SCHEIDL SIGNS - Former Regina Pats forward and 40 goal scorer Lane Scheidl has signed a contract extension with the ECHL's Kalamazoo Wings. He will skate in his fourth season of professional hockey and his third with the Wings. Scheidl posted career highs last year in games played with 72, goals with 17, assists 25, and points 42.
ANNING TAKES OVER IN BRANDON - The Brandon Wheat Kings have promoted David Anning as their new head coach. Joining Anning on the bench this season will be longtime coach and fellow Winnipegger Don McGillivray and former WHL All Star defenceman Aaron Rome. Former assistant coach Darren Ritchie meanwhile becomes the Wheat Kings’ new Director of Scouting and Tyler Plante rejoins the organization as the club’s Goaltending Coach.
WHEAT KINGS NEW GM - Kelly McCrimmon announced that Grant Armstrong has been named the team’s new General Manager on Tuesday. Armstrong joins the Wheat Kings after spending the past four seasons as an Assistant GM and Director of Player Personnel with the Victoria Royals.
The 54-year old North Delta, B.C. product joined the Royals in 2012 after spending four seasons as Head Scout for the Portland Winterhawks. Joining Armstrong as Assistant General Manager will be Mick McCrimmon. The 30 year old is a recent graduate of law school and has an extensive background in the game. He will assist on both hockey operations and business operations as he begins his career in management.
BLAZERS/ROCKETS TRADE - The Kamloops Blazers have acquired 19-year-old defenseman Joe Gatenby, 18-year-old defenseman Daniel Gatenby and a conditional fifth round pick in 2019 from the Kelowna Rockets in exchange for 18-year-old forward Jake Kryski. Joe Gatenby has played 174 regular season games with the Rockets over the past three seasons and has 44 points and is a +64 over his career. He has also suited up in 52 career playoff games, and five Memorial Cup games.
Daniel Gatenby is Joe’s younger brother. The defender played in 22 games with the Rockets in 2015-16 and 15 games for the Okanagan Rockets of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Kryski played the last two seasons with the Blazers compiling 65 points in 136 career games.
ZAITSEV COMMITS TO MOOSE JAW - 18-year-old import defenseman Dmitri Zaitsev has committed to the Warriors. Zaitsev, 6’1”/185lbs, is from Togliatti, Russia and was selected 33rd overall by the Warriors during the 2016 CHL Import Draft. He played last season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights in the North American Hockey League (NAHL), in 53 games he had seven goals, 15 assists, 22 points, and 74 penalty minutes, and was named to the All-East Division Rookie Team.
WARRIORS ADD COACH - Scott King has been named the new Assistant Coach/Coordinator, Player Development in Moose Jaw. Originally from Saskatoon, King played one season with Boston University (NCAA) in 1995-1996, and then went on to join the Kelowna Rockets in 1996-1997. In 1997 King signed as a free agent with the Montreal Canadiens and went on to play four years in the American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League from 1997 to 2001. During this time he would be named an AHL All-Star, was voted an ECHL MVP, and was an ECHL scoring champion.
Last season King served as the Warriors Skills Coach, he also was Hockey Canada’s Head Skills Development Coach in 2015-2016.
KOOTENAY HIRES NEW ASSISTANT - Tuesday the Ice announced the Club has hired Roman Vopat as an Assistant Coach. Roman Vopat played 16 seasons of professional hockey including 133 NHL games with the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers. In addition to time spent in the American Hockey League and International Hockey League, Vopat also played overseas in Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and his native Czech Republic. Prior to his professional career he played two seasons in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Prince Albert Raiders. He spent the past two campaigns as an Assistant Coach with the Prince George Cougars.
RAIDERS POST PROFIT - The Prince Albert Raiders hosted their Annual General Meeting on Monday night. The club reported an operating surplus of $3,892 from the 2015-16 season. The membership also re-elected Dawn Kilmer and Brent MacDonald to the Board of Directors. Team president Dale McFee said it was a good year for the team, especially seeing the team “back in the black.” He also noted the importance of continuity with structural aspects of the organization, such as the coaching staff.
THUNDER FALL IN CALGARY - The Regina Thunder fell to 1-1 with a 36-17 loss in Calgary to the now 2-0 Colts on Sunday afternoon.
Regina quarterback Sawyer Buettner was 20 of 32 passing for 226 yards and 3 interceptions. Running back Victor St. Pierre-Laviolette ran for 188 yards on 26 carries and scored the teams lone touchdown, he also caught 3 balls for 39 yards. Nathin Fortin led the club with 41 receiving yards.
The Thunder are on the road again in week 3 when they visit the Winnipeg Rifles (1-1) on Saturday.
That's all I have for today, have a great week!