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Happy Wednesday everybody!
MEMORIAL CUP - Well we have to start with a congrats to the London Knights who won the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup on Sunday with a 3-2 OT win over the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. What an incredible game it was, Chase Marchand stood on his head in the Huskies net and gave them a chance but in the Matthew Tkachuk scored twice including the game winner and the Knights won their second national championship in franchise history. The Knights were the best team at the tournament and won 17 straight games to end the year, just an incredible run and it was a well deserved win. They were special to watch, no doubt about that.
SPRING CAMP WRAP - The Regina Pats held their annual Spring Camp over the weekend with 19 prospects in attendance. Head Coach and GM John Paddock says it was a good weekend for everyone involved. "I think it was a really exciting time. Probably equal on non hockey stuff as hockey stuff. Stuff associated with our organization from the school to our dinner last night to just talking with parents and the kids and they were all real happy and that's the most important thing."
Paddock says it's an important couple of days for the players and their families. "Why it's so good for them is they come back in August and it's comfortable for them. The kids know where the dressing room is, they know where the rinks are, they've met us, they've talked to us, they've met the guys they are going on the ice with. So they feel really comfortable and I think that's the first step to success is feeling comfortable where you are at."
Director of Scouting Dale McMullin says he is impressed with the players. "Overall I think the 2001 group that we just drafted I mean the kids carried themselves well all weekend. I think the two practices went very very well and the off ice portion of it they were polite and respectful kids and year I think it went very well."
The prospects will be back in late August for main training camp.
McMULLIN EXTENDED - The Pats announced Friday the club signed Director of Scouting Dale McMullin to a multi-year contract extension. McMullin joined the Pats in 2011 after spending nine years with the Red Deer Rebels. During his time with Regina, Dale and his staff selected players including Sam Steel, Austin Wagner and Jordan Hollett at the WHL Bantam Draft. Beyond the draft, the Pats have listed well by bringing players including Tyler Brown, Chase Harrison, Adam Berg and Sean Richards.
PATS SIGNINGS - After spring camp the Pats announced the signings of top pick from the 2016 draft, forward Cole Muir (2nd round, 33rd overall) as well as goaltender Max Paddock who was picked by the Pats in the 10th round, 212th overall, at the 2015 Bantam Draft. Muir tallied an impressive 76 points (37G, 39A) in just 35 games with the Yellowhead Chiefs of the Manitoba Bantam AAA league this last season while Paddock posted an 8-10-0 record supported by a 2.82 GAA, 0.908 SV% and one shutout over 38 appearances for the Midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings.
ICYMI - NICK HENRY UPDATE - There was one player in Regina for the weekend who did not take part in the on-ice portion of Spring Camp. Forward Nick Henry who was acquired from the Everett Silvertips at the WHL Bantam Draft in May made his way to the Queen City to get a feel foe the team that traded for his rights. Henry was originally a 3rd round pick of the Silvertips and was named the MJHL rookie of the year as a 16-year-old with the Portage Terriers this season. He says he enjoyed the weekend. "It's been awesome, it's a first class organization and it's been just a great experience overall."
The Pats traded a 6th round pick at the 2016 draft as well as a conditional pick to Everett for Henry's rights and he says the move come as a surprise. "We had just got off the ice at Westerns and my assistant coach came up and told me that my rights had been traded to Regina and I was totally shocked. It came totally by surprised... It gives me another option, somewhere to go with my college and then now I have Regina and it's good to have lots of options."
Henry who is being recruited heavily by the Pats and the NCAA says he has a big decision to make over the next couple of months. "So much stuff to think about and talk through with your parents. It's going to be one tough decision now being traded to Regina because it's just a great organization, they have a lot of great players and they have a heck of a team so it's making my decision pretty tough right now. I have all summer, and I will be coming to camp and stuff so I will think about it all summer and probably make the right decision in the end."
Henry is entering his 17-year-old season. If he were to sign with Regina the Pats would give up that undisclosed conditional draft pick.
STEEL IN BUFFALO - Pats forward Sam Steel is among 114 NHL Draft prospects in Buffalo this week for the Draft Combine. Steel says it's great to be there. "I'm definitely honoured to be apart of that group that's going to the combine. It's going to be a unique experience from what I've heard in the past. I guess you could say a little bit stressful but at the same time I think it's going to be fun to be around the great players that are there and get to meet a lot of teams there so it's something I'm looking forward too."
Steel who is ranked 30th in North America by the NHL Central Scouting Service says he wants to make a good impression. "You always want to come across as a good kid that is someone that they want in their organization so that is definitely something you have to be cognizant about. Just put your best foot forward and hopefully they like you I guess."
The Sherwood Park product says this week is just a aprt of what he has worked for for a long time."It's definitely an exciting time, come June I hope to hear my name called and wherever I go it's a whole new journey after that. I am excited to get things going and we will see what the future holds."
Steel is coming off a 70 point season (23G 47A) with the Pats in 72 games played and then added 16 points in 12 playoff games.
NHL Combine Schedule
May 30 One-on-one interviews
May 31 One-on-one interviews
June 1 One-on-one interviews
June 2 One-on-one interviews and medical testing
June 3 One-on-one interviews
June 4 Fitness Testing
BROOKS GARNERING BIG INTEREST - Pats forward Adam Brooks has a busy week ahead of him. meeting with Chicago, Toronto and Buffalo. The NHL clubs will be working out the WHL's leading scorer and conducting interviews. Buffalo is as likely as any team to draft Brooks later this month. They own 4 picks in the 3rd round. If they do draft Brooks, which is purely speculation, they already have 48 contracts on their books, just two shy of the maximum allowed. A lot can change int he next few months but if Brooks becomes a Sabre, one would think there is a good chance he would be back in Regina for his 20-year-old season.
HOLLETT GETS HOCKEY CANADA INVITE - Pats goaltender Jordan Hollett is among 34 netminders who will attend the annual Program of Excellence Goaltending Camp in Calgary from June 9th to 12th. 8 of the 34 are in the under-18 age group including Hollett. Overseen by Hockey Canada’s director of player personnel, Ryan Jankowski and goaltending consultant, Fred Brathwaite, the camp includes both on- and off-ice sessions with instruction from: Kory Cooper (Mississauga, OHL), Dan DePalma (Kamloops, WHL), Brad Kirkwood (Hockey Canada), Phil Myre (Saginaw, OHL), Stéphane Proulx (Gatineau, QMJHL) and Paul Schonfelder (Ottawa, OHL).
Also included in the three-day camp are members of Hockey Canada’s goaltending advisory board, who will work with the players and instructors: Dave Alexander (Syracuse, AHL), Brady Robinson (Lehigh Valley, AHL), Dwayne Roloson, (Anaheim, NHL), Mike Valley (Dallas, NHL), Andrew Verner, (Peterborough, OHL), and Rick Wamsley (Hockey Canada).
NEW COACH IN PG - The Prince George Cougars will announce their new head coach tomorrow. The club has been searching for a new coach since parting ways with mark Hollick after the playoffs this year. The Cougars were swept in the first round by the Seattle Thunderbirds and really limped into the post season after a really good first half of the year.
ICE HIRE GOALIE COACH - The Kootenay Ice have a new goaltending coach. The club announced they have hired Jamie McCaig on Monday. McCaig played hockey at the University of Brandon (2000-2002) and the University of Lethbridge (2003-2005), also spending two seasons in the professional ranks in the WCHL and ECHL. McCaig was the Goaltending Coach with the Chinese National Women’s Team (2009-2010) and has held a similar role with several Junior “A” teams in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan over the past nine seasons. McCaig is a 36 year-old native of Penticton, British Columbia. He replaces Mike Bergren, whose employment agreement with the Club was not renewed.
PROVOROV & HART EARN NATIONAL AWARDS - Everett Silvertips goaltender Carter Hart and Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Ivan Provorov claimed the 2015-16 Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Year and Arctic Spas CHL Defenceman of the Year honours respectively to represent the WHL. Hart enjoyed a productive season for the WHL’s second-best defensive club this season, posting a 35-23-1-3 record with six shutouts in 63 appearances. The 17-year-old finished second amongst WHL netminders with a 2.14 goals against average, finished with the sixth-best save percentage at .918 and placed first overall with 35 victories. Provorov finished first in scoring amongst WHL defencemen with 73 points, including 21 goals, in 62 games while also finishing first in plus-minus with a plus-64 rating.
STANLEY CUP FINAL - Well I hope the rest of this series is as good as game 1 was between the Penguins and Sharks. The Pens were dominant in the 1st, the Sharks flipped the tables in the 2nd and the Pittsburgh got a game winner late from Nick Bonino. Such an entertaining contest. My heart is hoping for a San Jose Stanley Cup but my head says Pittsburgh is going to win.
MARLEAU ESCAPES - Sharks forward Patrick Marleau was not handed a suspension for his hit in game 1 on the Penguins Bryan Rust. Marleau was given a two minute minor for the hit which was to the head of Rust and the NHL decided that was punishment enough. It certainly was a dangerous hit, what do you think? Does he deserve more? I can tell you if it was Raffi Torres or Matt Cooke laying that hit, they would miss the rest of the post season no doubt.
BLUE SKIES AHEAD? - Have the Blue Jays finally figured things out? Toronto has won 7 of its last 10 and are beating the teams in their division, New York and Boston. The starting pitching continues it's dominance and the bullpen is putting together some outs and preserving wins. Are they domnant? no but they are winning. Lets just pray it continues.
NBA FINALS - Before we get to Cleveland and Golden State, can you believe someone paid $29,000 dollars a piece for two tickets court side to game 7 between OKC and Golden State on Monday? My goodness I wish I had that kind of money. The Warriors won and now have a rematch with the Cavaliers for the NBA Championship. The Cavs are healthy this time around with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love alongside LeBron James. Golden State has Steph Curry and Clay Thompson, this is going to be fantastic and Cleveland might exact some revenge this time around.
That's all I have for today, have a great week!