Pats ready to get back on ice

It has been just about a year since the Regina Pats were on the ice as a team.

That changes on Friday as barring any last-minute complications, they will have their first practice of the year as a one-week training camp begins to get ready for the start of a shortened 24-game season against their divisional opponents.

Head Coach Dave Struch says they are one call away from getting things going.

“Our first practice is tomorrow (Friday) night at the Brandt Centre. “Struch said on Thursday. “We got our second tests on Wednesday morning and will get those results back before 10 o’clock tonight (Thursday).  We were originally hoping if we got the results back early enough that we would skate Thursday, but the league said they want everyone to go through protocol and have their first practice at the Brandt Centre just so they know what is going on with entrances and exits and stuff like that.  I am hoping we can get out of the rooms, meet up with the guys and get acquainted before getting out into the real world.”

It has been quite a while since the team was on skates.  Defenceman Kyle Walker says it has been a long wait, but he is ready.

“We have all waited for so long and have had hopes of things starting and then being delayed.” Walker said.  “Now that we are only 24 hours away from practicing and hanging out with the guys, we are super excited to be here and get things going.”

It is a sentiment shared by forward Logan Nijhoff.

“It will be a little different at the start, but it is super exciting and once we get that first practice under our belt, it will be like riding a bike. It should come back pretty quickly.” Nijhoff saiid.”

The Pats will carry a few more players on the roster this year because of COVID-19.  Struch says they will go to camp with 27 instead of 23-24, so conditioning will be a big thing as they work players in and out of the lineup.

The first game for the Pats is Friday, March 12 against Prince Albert in an 8 o’clock start.

We will have all games for you with 19 of the 24 coming on 620 CKRM and the other five on RM2.  On Thursday, the Pats announced Phil Andrews will return for his 10th season.  Andrews had stepped down in the summer of 2020 for family reasons, but decided to come back when asked to strap on the headphones and grab the microphone one more time saying he can’t think of a better way to spend the next month and a half than at the at the rink doing what he loves.”

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