On Tuesday evening, the Regina Pats learned they’ll face the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL’s Eastern Conference Final which begins Friday in the Brandt Centre.
On Wednesday prior to his team’s practice, Pats Coach & GM John Paddock talked about the Hurricanes, their Game 7 win at Medicine Hat, and their captain Tyler Wong.
“Well I think the better team won,” Paddock told reporters of the other Conference Semifinal. “When I say that, it’s a team game, and they’re missing half a dozen players, but they found a way to win. They’re 7-3 in their last 10 playoff games so I would say that indicates a pretty difficult match.
“I don’t think there’s any specific challenges. We gotta play our game. Their challenges individually are Wong, Estephan, Skinner, and their other top players. I think Estephan and Wong were on the ice for 13 of the last 21 goals they’ve scored so they need to be paid attention to.”
Paddock said his players will have to pay particular attention to Hurricanes captain Tyler Wong, and he inferred that the officials should keep an eye on him as well.
“For sure,” Paddock quipped. “He’s a hard-working, inspirational guy who has skill, the ability to score, and he’s physical. He jumps a couple feet in the air when he hits guys, doesn’t get called, so he’s in the running for the Most Valuable Player. To me, the most valuable player is different from being the most outstanding player.”
The City of Regina is going off-the-wall crazy with Pats Fever as the team has advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time since 1993. Paddock said the hysteria has been impossible to ignore.
“I’m noticing it more in the city,” Paddock offered. “People that don’t know you at all are saying things. There’s a real buzz in the city and that’s special.”
And for the first time in anyone’s memory, Pats tickets are now being scalped by enterprising “fans”. Paddock even offered a comment on that scandal which has hit the news this week.
“I think it’s great!” Paddock laughed. “I should be selling my four family tickets.”
The Pats host the Hurricanes in Game 1 on Friday at 7:00 pm in the Brandt Centre on 620 CKRM,