One of the best ever players to don a Regina Pats uniform said goodbye to an organization he has been with for the last five seasons on Tuesday afternoon.
As Sam Steel walked up the stairs at the Brandt Centre after autographing some things and saying goodbye to teammates, he walked out the door to his vehicle knowing his days as a member of the Pats were over.
It is highly expected the Sherwood Park, Alberta native will start next season in the American Hockey League with either the Anaheim Ducks American Hockey League affiliate in San Diego or with the Ducks themselves. Before leaving, he reflected back on his time in the city and with the Pats.
“You never think this day will come, but the time has flown by. There’s a lot of things running through my head.” Steel said. “It’s been a great five years since being drafted. I can’t thank the city of Regina or the organization enough. It’s been unbelievable.”
Steel, whose 338 points put him 10th all-time in franchise scoring, says there are so many good memories he will take away from his time in Regina.
“Unfortunately we never won a championship here or anything but we’ve played some great hockey and been in the finals, obviously the Memorial Cup Final, there’s just been so many good memories.” Steel said.
While he will try his best to crack the Ducks roster next season, he says he can’t control where he will be playing hockey. He says all he can control is continuing to work hard and play hockey the way he knows he can.
His head coach John Paddock fully expects to see Steel in an NHL uniform soon saying he reminds him of a current NHL’er who has had success over the past couple of seasons. That player is Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux whom Paddock once coached when he was the head coach of the AHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms.
Steel was quick to praise Paddock when asked about his relationship with him.
“He has meant a lot to me.” Steel said. “He’s been here since I was 16. He gave me every opportunity and molded me into the player I am. He is an unbelievable coach and I couldn’t be more proud to have him be my head coach and general manager. I’ve had many good memories with him.”