The time has come for the Regina Pats.
The host team at the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup will play their first game since a Game 7 loss in Swift Current in the first round of the WHL playoffs on April 2 when they skate with the Ontario Hockey League champion Hamilton Bulldogs.
When the team hits the Brandt Centre Friday night, 17 year old Max Paddock will be the starting goaltender according to head coach and general manager John Paddock
Paddock had a strong second half to the season and ended the year with a goals against average of 2.90 with a save percentage of .904, but he was injured prior to the first round matchup against the Broncos meaning Ryan Kubic had the task of being the netminder of record.
As for the team itself, they are ready after not playing for a month and a half.
Josh Mahura was on the Red Deer Rebels team that hosted the tournament in 2016. He says the Memorial Cup can be intimidating with the national spotlight shining brightly on you and playing teams you’ve never seen, but at the end of the day it’s hockey.
“Going through this once, I got the experience of being on the host team.” Mahura said. “Playing those different teams was big, but playing teams from down east was different. Once you get out there the spotlight of the tournament fades away, but you know you are just playing a game where the stakes are higher and it’s intense. We’ve worked hard over the last month and we’re ready.
Game time Friday night is 8 o’clock. Be with 620 CKRM as Sportscage will come live from Evraz Place in advance of the opening game with a special one-hour pre-game show happening at 7 featuring Les Lazaruk, Kelly Remple and Al Dumba. Phil Andrews will then have the call alongside Jared Dumba as we bring you each and every game of the 100th Memorial Cup including the final which will be on our sister station the WOLF 104.9 Sunday May 27.