“If I didn’t like it I wouldn’t be doing it” Pats HC/GM John Paddock discusses his love for the game of hockey

 

The sport of hockey will be celebrated across the country on Saturday with Hockey Day in Canada.

Closer to home, the game will be recognized in Martensville this weekend with Hockey Day in Saskatchewan.

Regina Pats head coach and general manager John Paddock has deep roots in the game with a love of hockey that has spanned for over six decades.

Looking back, Paddock says some of his earliest memories of the sport were going to practice after school beginning in Grade one. From a young age, he developed a lifelong affection for the game.

“About 63 years I’ve been putting on the skates to play the game or enjoy the game or a job, if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t be doing it.”

One hobby the Pats head coach and general manager adopted at a young age was collecting hockey cards. Some of the cards would come from the back of cereal boxes. Another source of his collection was from Bee Hive Syrup which contained hockey picture rings since the packaging was circular. He recalls collecting about 20 circles from the original six teams of the NHL during that time.

A pair of hockey heroes from the original six eras that Paddock looked up to at a young age was Red Kelly of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Gordie Howe from the Detroit Red Wings. He said his grandmother was a Maple Leafs fan which inspired him to become a fan of the Maple Leafs. Paddock’s father was a Red Wings fan which caused his affection for “Mr. Hockey. ”

There have been a lot of great memories for the Pats head coach in hockey, both on the ice and the behind the bench. He looks back with fond memories of his five Calder Cup Championships. (American Hockey League championships) Two of the championships as a player with three additional titles as a coach. Paddock was named to the AHL Hall of Fame back in 2010.

Another memory that the former NHL coach enjoys reminiscing about was during his time with the Ottawa Senators as an assistant coach with the team during their playoff run in 2007 when Daniel Alfredsson scored the overtime winner against the Buffalo Sabres that gave Ottawa a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup.

He called the moment “pretty special. ”

No doubt Paddock is currently coaching a pretty special player in Connor Bedard. He said the Pats were aware of the abilities of the 17-year-old when they first drafted him.

“He is a unique special player, he was granted the special status and he’s continue to prove it in this league and the world stage.”

Besides his game-breaking abilities on the ice, the Pats HC/GM says he enjoys watching the Pats captain handle himself off the ice.

“To see his preparation and his work to keep getting better.”

With Bedard currently the top-ranked prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft, Paddock enjoys working with the 17-year-0ld phenom while he can.

“It’s pretty slim that he’s going to be back.”

With the Regina Pats in the heat of the playoff race in the Western Hockey League, there is no doubt the passion for hockey still burns for John Paddock.

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