The final buzzer sounds and fans cheer as the Pats salute the assembled after a victory. The players head off the ice and to their dressing room to shed their gear and head home for some much deserved rest. After a weekend that saw the Pats win 5-1 and 6-2 over divisional rivals Moose Jaw and Saskatoon, the players have four days before suiting up for a Friday game against Medicine Hat. After a break for Christmas, this week won’t be one to relax. On-ice practices, off-ice workouts and mental preparation are the routine leading up to a three game in three night stretch for the Pats.
This week, like any
other, won’t be centred only on hockey.
The players will be out and about within Regina, helping various
community organizations because while developing hockey players is large part
of what the organization does… more important is the development of young
adults who will contribute to their community for years to come and long after
they hang up their skates.
The Pats are heavily
involved in the community of Regina, spending nearly 3,000 man-hours volunteering
to make the Queen City a better place in the last year. Visiting children in the hospital, spending
time working at the food bank and soup kitchens are all part of the schedule on
any given week. The players head out in small
groups to their destination and spend the morning doing their bit to make a
Pats Captain Colton Jobke
says it’s all part of an important relationship between the Pats and the
community. “Last year we were in
schools, the food bank and this year as well.
We’re getting out as much as we can, whether it’s going to schools and
reading to kids, playing floor hockey with them, making hampers at the food
bank… Whenever we have a chance, breaks in our schedule we try and get out
there and do as much as we can. We
really appreciate the community supporting us so we want to give back.”“(Getting out in the
community) allows you to meet the people out there who come support you,” the
Minnesota Wild prospect continues. “It
forces you, whether you’re 16, 17 or 20 years old, to grow up and really
appreciate the people who come watch.”
“When we can use or
leverage our notoriety with a charity or a business to help generate some
money, whether it’s for a charitable group, minor hockey or anything we can do,
we’re going to do it,” says Pats President Brent Parker. “Everyone (in the front office), it’s always
looking at different ideas, different thoughts, ‘how can we do this? What about
this event? Can we get involved there?’"
Parker feels community
contributions are a key part of the Western Hockey League, “I think it’s a part
of what our league is all about, it’s a part of the growing process for the kids,
the development and the maturing and the life skills that they take out of
these things from the punctuality, to the team work to the giving back. All of these things are a part of why they
play junior hockey.”
Sports teams are an
integral part of the fabric their home towns and cities, from amateur all the
way to the professional ranks. They rely
on the support of their fans and community to remain viable and it’s a key part
of the relationship for the teams to give back.
For the Regina Pats, an organization dedicated to the development of
young men, it’s a philosophy of community involvement that’s every bit as
important as what happens on the ice.
Pats Head Coach Pat
Conacher sees an opportunity for the players who have had a lot of support in
reaching their goals to give back. “When
kids get to this level, they’ve been exposed to some great hockey
programs. I’m going to say that
everything that can be done for them is done for them as far as coaching,
resources and everything else,” says Conacher. “I think it’s really nice for them to give
back by going out into the community and see how young people their own age are
trying to work, get jobs through school or any type of after school work those
type of things to support themselves to try and chase their career goals. Instead of having a whole network like we
have in hockey where they’re basically being supported by everyone else, all
they have to do is show up and play. To
get (the players) out in the community, it’s very important because I think to
be great at anything you have to be a whole person and see everything and this
is just part of it.”
The team also finds
ways to make a contribution on a larger scale.
As both a pre-season team building exercise and community initiative,
players and coaching staff join Habitat for Humanity for a day to work on a
house for a deserving Regina family. This
season, the players focused on building a fence for one of Habitat’s latest
project. The day started with almost no
sign of the project that would occupy the Pats through the day, but finished
with the property almost entirely fenced.
One group of players also broke off to help dig out the space for a
future path to the front door of the house.
With players spending
so much time at the rink during the season, Jobke says it’s an opportunity to
get a break from the grind, “whenever we come in the morning, the non-school
guys, we usually try to do community service if we’re not too busy. It’s a good break from the rink and it’s
almost team bonding as well. You get a
bunch of guys at the food bank, having fun while helping the community as well,
it’s a good time.”Community involvement
is a cornerstone of the Pats organization and the commitment to making an
impact away from the rink runs from the on-ice product, all the way to the
front office. All season, the Pats’
front office staff works to bring forward initiatives to get the Pats and their
fans involved in bettering our community.
Annual events like painting the ice pink for Breast Cancer Awareness
Night and the Teddy Bear toss are just a couple of ways the Pats contribute to
the community at large.
The last few months
have been tough for the Regina Pats family as multiple alumni were diagnosed
with severe illnesses. The organization
stepped to the plate and began initiatives to support these former Pats. #MovemberforBD shirts and bracelets were sold
at the rink while the team auctioned off special Movember ties and sticks and
partnered with the Regina Professional Firefighters Association to build upon
their already existing Movember campaign.
The team also supported the Regina Kidney Foundation through donations
on Clark Gillies bobblehead night and the Multiple-Sclerosis Society with a
“As an organization, we
take great pride in working with our corporate partners on community projects,”
says Pats V.P of Operations and Corporate Development, Cliff Mapes. “For
example, we’re into our thirteenth season working with Western Pizza and their
“Have a Heart Night” to raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Our fourth annual Knight Archer Bobblehead night was a huge success, raising
over $4,000 for one of our alumni, Kyle Deck, and the Regina Kidney Foundation.
This year, our staff had the opportunity to lend their talents to help our
partners here at the park run the video production for the Canadian Western Agribition
Rodeo. Any time we have the opportunity to work with a corporate partner;
it’s a chance for us to contribute to building a network of support for causes
around Regina and the surrounding area.”
runs through the entire season. Through
the month of February, the Pats partner with Scotiabank to sell Zamboni Coin
Banks with proceeds going to the Hospitals of Regina Foundation and Scotiabank
matching what the Pats are able to raise.
In March, the Pats will help put Regina’s diversity on display with a
multi-cultural night when twenty cultural groups will share their heritage with
fans. The Blue and White also host their
annual First Nations Night featuring pre-game ceremonies and dancing.