Pats announce transition of hockey operations department. John Paddock retires with Alan Millar taking over as new GM


The Regina Pats announced major changes to their hockey operations department.

After nine seasons with the Pats, John Paddock announced he is stepping down as the team’s General Manager and Vice-President of Hockey Operations. He will remain with the organization as a senior advisor. Replacing Paddock as the Pats General Manager and Vice-President of Hockey Operations is Alan Millar.

The Tottenham, Ont. product has been the Director of Player Personnel with Hockey Canada since March 2021. Before joining Hockey Canada, Millar spent over a decade (2010-21) with the Pats Trans-Canada highway rivals, the Moose Jaw Warriors, as their Director of Player of Personnel and General Manager. Millar also has spent time in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Guelph Storm (1997-2003), Toronto St. Michael’s Majors (2003-04) and Sarnia Sting (2004-09). He was also the Director of Hockey Operations for the St. John Flames(1993-97).  He began his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate, the Newmarket Saints in 1989.

It has been a memorable run for Paddock in the Queen City. The 69-year-old joined the Pats before the 2014-15 season. He would serve in the dual role of head coach and general manager between 2014-18 and 2018-21. He was exclusively the GM between 2018-21. During his time in Regina, Paddock led the Pats to appearances in the WHL final in 2017 and the Memorial Cup Final in 2018.  He was named the WHL Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2017 and the WHL Executive of the Year in 2018.

Paddock will leave the Pats organization second in all-time wins as a head coach (209) and third in games coached (378). While in charge of the Pats hockey operations, 12 players were selected in the National Hockey League Draft, including the first overall pick of the 2023 NHL Draft, Connor Bedard.

“It was just the right time.” said Paddock on Monday, who noted that retirement was back in their mind when he signed his last contract in 2018 and added that his recent health issues helped to persuade him to step down this summer.

With his notable run in Regina, this past season was an unforgettable one for the Pats organization. Regina became the hottest ticket in the WHL, with rinks selling out across the league during the second half of the season. As he reflected on the previous season, Paddock characterized it as a rare and unique experience.

“There was never anything like this. “said the former Pats Head Coach and General Manager, pointing out that 19 of Pat’s final 20 games were sold. Paddock recalled when Bedard returned from the World Juniors in January.

“He’s a hard guy to make take time off. We’re going to be in a playoff hunt and we needed him to play.” He added after keeping the 17-year-old off the ice for a couple of days, he made an instant impact in his first game back and helped the Pats to a win with a six-point effort. Paddock thinks the Chicago Blackhawks 2023 first-round pick has cemented himself as one of the elite players to have ever played the game.

“That’s why I think you could say confidently that there hasn’t been anyone before him and who knows when there will be else. ”

Before joining Regina, Paddock had an extensive career in the NHL and AHL. He is a member of the AHL Hall of Fame after being a five-time Calder Cup champion, winning three of them as a coach. In the NHL, Paddock was the Head Coach and later the GM of the Winnipeg Jets from 1991-1995, and was the GM of the Phoenix Coyotes in their inaugural 1996-97 season. He then served as both an Assistant Coach and Head Coach with the Ottawa Senators from 2005-2008, acting as the Head Coach for the Eastern Conference all-star team in 2008.


Alan Millar is named the new GM for the Regina Pats with CEO Gord Pritchard


Replacing Paddock is Millar, who said that despite the recent controversies at Hockey Canada, he desired to manage a hockey team once again, especially in the WHL, which swayed him into taking the position with Regina.

“A 68-game schedule, gamedays that excitement, two or three games a week, getting ready for a trade deadline, preparing for the draft, getting on the road with the scouts, the relationships, the camaraderie with the staff, the relationship with players and their families, the development of young players, getting ready for training camp, the excitement of opening night, all those things were things I considered in terms of making that decision.”

Even though he is honoured to be joining the Pats organization, Millar believes that today is about recognizing the efforts and career of Paddock.

“You look at the resume as a player, as a coach, the Calder Cup championships, General Manager, Coach in the NHL.” Millar added, “(Paddock) Has that type of resume and does it, everything with first class, he’s an absolute gentleman.”

Millar revealed that Paddock was the one who contacted him about the opening with the Pats.

“Lot of the reason I’m here is because of John (Paddock) and that text.”

After spending so many years on the Warriors side of the Trans Canada Highway Clash, Millar is looking forward to being on the other side of the rivalry and thinks the Warriors fans will have mixed feelings about the move.

“Part of the fanbase will be critical and say really, he went to the Pats and the other half will say they can have him.”

The new Pats General Manager hopes the two organizations can use this move to create further interest in the rivalry between the two hockey teams.

The Pats will now also have to fill a vacancy at head coach with Paddock’s retirement. Millar said the team will have more news on that front in the near future.

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