After a successful road trip through the Northwestern United States, on which the team posted a 4-2-0-0 record, the Pats returned home on an overnight bus trip from Spokane to Regina. When the team stopped for breakfast in Medicine Hat, four players and a coach disembarked to join RCMP officers and head to Vancouver to participate in Project First Goal.
Local players Colby Williams and Carter Hansen along with defenceman Tye Hand, forward Adam Brooks and Assistant Coach Bill McGuigan started their trip out on a small prop plane which would carry its passengers to Abbotsford before they finished by driving into Vancouver. While the plane’s size made the trip over the Rocky Mountains seem daunting, it was smooth flying.
“It was pretty scary looking at it,” laughed Pats forward Carter Hansen. “I’ve never flown on a propeller plane before, but once you get on it’s actually a lot smoother and I almost prefer flying like that now.”
The objective of Project First Goal is to bring players to the East Hastings neighbourhood of Vancouver under the supervision of local police officers and speak with the addicts who live in one of the most impoverished and drug addled neighbourhoods in North America. The players then bring the messages of those in East Hastings to schools in Regina and present their experiences to the children. The hope of the program is that, as role models in the community, the players’ presentations will hold more weight than might a police officer or teacher’s talk.