Brad Herauf is ready to make his mark as Head Coach of the Regina Pats

There will be plenty of changes for the Regina Pats in the 2023-24 season, but the biggest one will come from a familiar face.

Brad Herauf will make his debut as the head coach of the Pats on Friday when Regina travels to Brandon to meet the Wheat Kings. The local product spent eight seasons behind the bench as the team’s assistant coach before his promotion following the retirement of John Paddock.

Earlier this week, Herauf joined Michael Ball on the SportsCage and said there are more responsibilities as the man in charge.

“Especially with us having a new staff so trying to get everybody on board, so definitely a lot of questions to be answered outside of hockey practice.”

Besides Herauf’s new role as head coach and Alan Millar taking over John Paddock’s duties as general manager, there will be plenty of changes inside the team’s locker room.

Pats GM Alan Millar and HC Brad Herauf

Connor Bedard, the team’s captain last season, will be moving to the Chicago Blackhawks after being selected as the first overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

The Pats will also be without their top defenceman, Stanislav Svozil (Columbus) and their top rookie, Alexander Suzdalev (Washington).

Despite the losses, Herauf says there’s still a lot of talent remaining in Regina.

“We feel upfront we have a lot of returning guys who had some playoff experience,” said the Pats head coach. “Those guys are hungry to try and push for a playoff spot and play some meaningful games this spring.”

Herauf noted the backend of the Pats will face some challenges with a young blueline, along with their 20-year-old goaltender Drew Sim, beginning the season sidelines indefinitely as he recovers from a lower-body injury.

Between the pipes, with Sim out, the Pats will have to rely on a pair of 18-year-old netminders in Kelton Pyne and Ewan Huet. Herauf says the two goalies will split the duties and hopes they give the team a chance to win on a nightly basis.

The Pats head coach believes the foundation of the team will be ultra-competitive.

“If that’s skating hard, playing hard on your forecheck, backchecking hard, for us that’s going to be our main principles of our hockey team.”

Even as he moves into his new role as head coach, Herauf says his personality hasn’t changed after being an assistant coach for an extended period.

“I think I was very direct, very honest, I’ve had that approach all the time. For me, the way I teach has always been that way.”

Herauf and the Pats will look to open up the season on a positive note when they head to Brandon on Friday before returning home on Saturday to meet the Saskatoon Blades.

Coverage of the Pats season opener in Brandon with Dante De Caria, beginning with the pre-game show at 5:35, the opening faceoff at 6:00, on RM2.

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