It’s time to drop the puck for real.
On Friday night, the Regina Pats will start the 2021-22 WHL season as they will be in Prince Albert with the two teams returning to the Brandt Centre Saturday afternoon to complete a season-opening home and home.
When it comes to the Pats, all eyes will be on 16-year-old Connor Bedard. He did not disappoint last season as the phenom scored 28 points in 15 games before leaving for Texas where he was one of Canada’s top players as they won the World Under-18 hockey championship.
Bedard goes into the campaign knowing people will be coming to the Brandt Centre to watch him play, but he isn’t letting that get to him as he prepares to get going.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself and if I am exceeding my own expectations than that’s great.” Bedard said. “I hope I am a better player now than what I was when I left. I have goals for myself for the first 1o t0 15 games and then analyze after that. You have to set goals for yourself and I have high expectations for myself and for the team. The goal is just to win though.”
That’s a goal that head coach Dave Struch thinks his team can accomplish with a playoff position being something he thinks can be done.
“Our focus right now is solely on this weekend, but the bigger picture is to make the playoffs.” Struch said. “Our improvements are going to be bigger this year because of players that were here last year. We just need to stick to the process which should be successful and the execution level. We hope to be a part of the playoff conversation.”
While some players that have been at NHL training camps have returned, the team will be without two key players om the blueline as Ryker Evans is still with the Seattle Kraken while import Stanislav Svozil remains with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
620 CKRM will have Friday’s game starting at 7 with Dante DeCuria. Saturday’s game will begin on 620 CKRM before moving online to RM2 because of Saskatchewan Roughriders coverage.