Get caught up on Spring Camp with all the interviews from the weekend.
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
Thursday, 22 May 2014
The morning of Thursday, May 1st had young hockey players huddled at their computers, checking their phones and waiting for their name to be called at the WHL Bantam Draft. When Regina Pats Director of Scouting, Dale McMullin ascended to the podium to make the team’s first selection (13th Overall) of the Draft, the name called was out of character for the Blue and White. For the first time since the inception of the Bantam Draft in 1990, the Pats selected a goaltender in the first round. Langley, B.C.’s Jordan Hollett was the second goaltender picked in the opening round.
“When Ian Scott went (9th Overall to Prince Albert), another goalie I knew, that some goalies would be going pretty quick there,” said Hollett of being picked in the 13th slot. “I didn’t really know for sure that I was going (early), so it was a little bit of a change with Ian Scott going and I knew it was a matter of time.”
The Pats scouting staff is charged with building the team through the draft every year and for the young players selected it can be a life-changing event.
“It was a special moment, there was a whole bunch of excitement and a little bit of shock,” recounted Hollett. “You expect, almost, before the draft… I thought I was going to get drafted, but once it happens it’s not really something you can prepare yourself for.”
|Photo: Freeze Frame Photography|
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
In June of 2013, Morgan Klimchuk heard his name called by the Calgary Flames at 28th Overall in the NHL Entry Draft. It was a great moment for Klimchuk having grown up watching the Flames in the Stampede City. When fall came around and Flames Training Camp on the horizon is first on-ice professional experience would hit a delay as the Pats’ sniper suffered an injury at Pats Training Camp just days before he left for Calgary. Klimchuk returned to the Pats for the beginning of the WHL Regular Season and went on to post 74 points (30G, 44A), just two points off his career high despite only playing 57 games in the 2013-14 campaign. He also added five points in four playoff games against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
With the Pats season at an end, Klimchuk journeyed West to join the Flames’ AHL affiliate Abbotsford Heat for what would be the teams’ final games before departing for Glens Falls, New York this off-season. Before he could get into action with the Heat, Klimchuk was sidelined with a minor injury to once again delay his debut. The Pats’ leading scorer set aside frustration to take advantage of the extra time to observe how the game works at the pro level.
“It was good to watch a couple games when I was out. Obviously you never want to be hurt, I wanted to get into action as soon as possible. There were just some nagging things from the year that I wanted to make sure I was one hundred percent before making that jump (from pro to junior).”
|Photo: Keith Hershmiller/Regina Pats|
The Regina Pats season came to a disappointing end when they were swept from the WHL Playoffs by the Brandon Wheat Kings. With that end came new beginnings for several Pats players as they joined their NHL affiliate AHL teams on Amateur Tryout Contracts. Pats Captain Kyle Burroughs, a 7th Round selection of the New York Islanders, was the first Pat to get into professional action this spring. He suited up with the Islanders’ affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
“I got down there after a game one day, the next day I was practicing and the next day we had an eleven o’clock game so it happened really quickly,” explained Burroughs. “It was a good experience for me playing with guys like that. They’re always giving you tips to help you work on your game and develop you to the next level.”
|Photo: Puck Stopper Photography|
Thursday, 17 April 2014
Just six teams remain in the quest for the biggest prize in Canadian midget hockey. The Okanagan Rockets, Halifax McDonald’s, Prince Albert Mintos, Toronto Young Nationals, Grenadiers de Chateauguay and host Moose Jaw Generals will all clash next week to raise the Telus Cup as Canada’s National Midget Champions.
One Regina Pats prospect knew he would be participating in this tournament when the season got going and hopes a year of work will soon pay off. 2012 3rd Round Bantam Draft pick and signed prospect Rykr Cole is a member of the hosting Generals. Cole and his teammates are the most rested of the squads after bowing out of the SMAAAHL playoffs in their first round matchup with the Regina Pat Canadians.
“(The layoff) has been real good. Lots of rest and just having some time off has been good,” said Cole just days away from the tournament opener. “I think in the past two weeks we’ve been having a lot of hard practices and just getting back up to game tempo. I think that’s what we needed with having the Telus Cup in (a few) days now.”
When the Generals open the tournament on Monday, April 21st, it will be the first time the hosts have seen true game action in 45 days since their playoffs came to an end March 7th in Regina. Cole registered two points (1G, 1A) in four playoff games this year after finishing second on the Generals during the season with 45 points (23G, 22A) in 41 games.
|Photo: Keith Hershmiller/Regina Pats|
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Regina, Saskatchewan – Regina Pats forward Dryden Hunt moved one step closer to realizing his dream of reaching the NHL today. The 18-year old forward jumped onto the Central Scouting Service’s final rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft.
"Not being on it all year, and then finally at the end of the year with the last rankings I'm on it... feels pretty good," said Hunt. "Obviously there are some special players on that list so to be on that list it's pretty cool.
After not being on the list for the two prior ranking sets released, Hunt comes in at 144th among North American Skaters. Though the rankings are theoretical and don’t truly affect the draft, it does mean the Nelson, B.C. native turned heads with his play this season.
|Photo Credit: Keith Hershmiller/Regina Pats|
Thursday, 13 March 2014
Becoming a Memorial Cup Champion, the first CHL Player of the Year and an NHL Draft pick are just a few of the highlights of Ed Staniowski’s hockey career. One of, if not the, greatest goaltender in Regina Pats history, Staniowski’s number “1” hangs at the West End of the Brandt Centre among other Pats legends. Out of all the achievements of his hockey career, Staniowski joked with Pats play-by-play man Phil Andrews that there was one thing missing.
“When you play the game of hockey, you hope to make junior, you do. You hope to get drafted, you get drafted. You hope to play in the NHL, you get a chance to do that. Your hockey card comes out, and that’s pretty exciting… but I guess you really haven’t arrived until you’ve got your own bobblehead.”
Staniowski was back in Regina for his bobblehead night presented by Knight Archer Insurance. The collectible was made in the likeness of Staniowski in his Pats’ days, meaning it bore some distinct differences from the 58-year old Moose Jaw native. The trademark grin was unmistakable though as Staniowski took time to sign autographs for a massive line of fans who, by the end of the evening, had donated over $3,000 dollars to the Soldier On fund in support of returning wounded veterans.
Former Regina Pats netminder and fan favourite, Matt Hewitt was known for his past-time of juggling. The New Westminster, B.C. native even received training in juggling and used it as a part of his pre-game routine. Now the goaltender who made over 4,000 saves in his career with the Pats is juggling something else. The game Matt loves and his studies at the University of British Columbia.
“It’s been a great experience. I think just making the adjustment from just playing hockey to having education. Having to open up a book and read for a while is the biggest challenge. I think the first semester is always the biggest struggle because you’re just trying to find your place within the school and the new hockey team. You’re trying to keep up with your marks and it’s a lot to handle.”
Between a full schedule of hockey and a slate of classes, Hewitt says it doesn’t leave a ton of time for anything else.
“The time management has been tough because every day we’re practicing and we’re working out two times a week. On top of that we probably have two or three classes a day. You don’t have much free time to work throughout the day.”
It's been a while since I've posted anything on this blog. Considering the Pats website gets most of my attention and you certainly don't need me reblogging my own press releases, this blog is generally pretty quiet. Excuses, excuses, I know. Over the next little bit, I'll be posting some of my stories from the year. Most of these will focus on Pats Alumni as I've been writing for the Digital Gameday Magazine. First up is the latest feature on Jordan Weal. Enjoy!
Leading up to his WHL career, Jordan Weal had plenty of doubters that the smallish forward could excel at the Major Junior level. His Midget-AAA stats were impressive and there was zero question of the skill the North Vancouver, B.C. product possessed, but his slight frame raised eyebrows. When he exploded onto the WHL scene with 70 points in 65 games, Weal didn’t raise eyebrows… he brought people out of their seats. If Weal hadn’t advanced to the pro-ranks in his 20-year old season, he would have had a very real shot at breaking Dale Derkatch’s seemingly impossible mark of 491 points (though Derkatch reached his total in only 204 games).