The re-build of the Regina Pats is on. The team that lost the WHL championship on home ice to the Seattle Thunderbirds in 2016-17 and the team that lost the Memorial Cup final to Acadie-Bathurst last season took its toll on the squad as there wasn’t much left in the cupboard at the start of this season. The end result has been a first half of the season which has seen the team win just nine games as they went into the Christmas break with a record of 9-24-0-1.
The struggles don’t come as a surprise to John Paddock. Paddock, who was the head coach of the team before stepping upstairs to concentrate on his role as general manager over the summer, says it is the price you have to pay and now it is time to pay.
“Nothing in our record has surprised me, nothing on our performance has surprised me. I think Dave (head coach Dave Struch) has done a great job. We are very competitive every night when it comes to work. We have had many one-goal games.” Paddock said. “When you try to win two years in a row, there’s going to be a long road ahead of you. That being said, I am disappointed in some of our players and that we could be better.”
When Paddock looks back at the Memorial Cup and the work put in by him to get his team to where it got last year, it does leave him feeling unsatisfied because they didn’t win, but it was an experience he remembers fondly.
“It was a tremendous experience. It was the highest level you could play at at this level of junior hockey. “Paddock said. “There was only one way to make what happened better and that would have been to win that last game.”
Paddock says for the most part he doesn’t miss being behind the bench as he works full-time as the team’s general manager, but he does admit there are some times when he does miss it.
“I’m so busy with other stuff with things that we need to do as an organization.” Paddock stated. “If there is a time I miss it, it is at 7 o’clock on game night because competing is what I love and as a head coach, you have some decision in the game. That might be a subtle decision like who goes out to a face-off or a matchup, but that’s your decision. Where I sit now, there’s no impact.”
One thing Paddock is concentrating on now is the WHL trade deadline which comes January 10. Regina already made a splash by sending Nick Henry and Jake Leschyshyn to Lethbridge earlier this month. He doesn’t know what the deadline will bring.
“I’m not sure what could happen, it’s hard to say because different people have different thoughts on what a player might be worth.” Paddock admitted. “If there is something right for us, I will look into it but we don’t have to move anybody to make us better in the future. If it happens, it happens. We are obviously being done as a major player as we have been the last few years.”
The Pats are off until December 27 when they are in Brandon. The Wheat Kings will be back at the Brandt Centre on December 28.