Dream Comes True: Pats D Kolten Bridgeman collects first career WHL goal

The dream of playing with the Regina Pats is alive and well for defenceman Kolten Bridgeman.

On Sunday, the local product scored his first goal in the Western Hockey League (WHL) during the Pats 6-1 loss to the Saskatoon Blades.

Kolten Bridgeman. Photo: Keith Hershmiller

While the goal came in a loss, he’s still ecstatic about the moment.

“Something I’ve dreamed for quite awhile growing up watching the Pats.”

Despite patrolling the blue line, Bridgeman’s first goal happened a couple of feet in front of the net, as the Pats capitalized on a Blades turnover inside of their end.

Even as a defenceman, scoring that first goal was always on his mind.

“I dreamt about it every night.”

As Bridgeman pointed out, he was the last member of the Pats to score his first goal of the season.

Along with his first goal, the 17-year-old has three assists in the 2023-24 regular season.

Bridgeman has travelled a unique path in his journey of becoming a Pat. Just two years ago, he was with the Regina Vics U18 AA in the SMAAHL.

The defenceman noted while playing AA hockey, he was on the same team as the son of former Pats legend Dale Derkatch, whom Bridgeman credits as being a mentor for him.

“He’s always been there to talk to, he’s been awesome to give you advice.”

Pats Head Coach Brad Herauf also said Derkatch has been a positive influence for Bridgeman and pointed out the defenceman’s potential.

Herauf believes Bridgeman has the makings to become a key member of the Pats.

“He’s 6’3 already, he skates really well, he’s got an IQ to the game, as he plays as a smaller guy.”

Before he dreamed of scoring goals, Bridgeman visualized playing for his hometown club and following in the footsteps of past Pats players like Colby Williams, Connor Hobbs, and Josh Mahura.

Battling an injury in his first season in WHL, the defenceman feels good about how the year has unfolded and believes it can improve.

“There’s a few things I can clean up in the d-zone and stuff, kind of want to add some more offence to my game but other than that it’s pretty good.”

Along the blue line, the 17-year-old has gained advice from the club’s three 20-year-old defencemen, Keagan Slaney, Carson Haynes and Ty Gibson. Bridgeman says the veteran’s presence has been very beneficial.

“Just giving me tips and tricks along the way to get better and make myself the best player I can be.”

Herauf noted the impact the three veteran defencemen have had with the Pats.

“They compete every day,” said the Pats Head Coach, “the three 20-year-olds that we have here, they treat it like a job, they show up every day, they’re ready to go on time, they’re staying late, they’re helping people around them.”

When obstacles arise when becoming a hockey player, such as not being selected in the WHL Draft or not making a AAA team, Bridgeman advises not to give up on the dream.

“Just work your hardest, be the first guy on, the last guy off, do everything you can, and if it doesn’t work out, you know that you did everything you can.”

The Pats return to action on Friday night when they host the Lethbridge Hurricanes at the Brandt Centre. Coverage on 620 CKRM begins at 6:35.

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