Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pats For Sale?

It's widely regarded among media members and maybe others, that the Portland Winter Hawks of the WHL are for sale. But it came as quite a shock to me this weekend when I was told that the Regina Pats might be on the block as well.

The oldest team in junior hockey history, the Pats are currently owned by Russ and Diane Parker, as well as their son Brent who is the team's G.M.

I was told by a Saskatchewan junior hockey source close to Regina that a former NHLer had inquired about buying a WHL team. He was told that Portland and Regina were likely the only teams available. Apparently when he checked on the Pats status, he was told that a current NHLer has the inside track on the team. In fact to quote my source "Mike Sillinger has that one all sewn up"

What makes the story even more interesting is that, if Sillinger does by the team, he will apparently replace current head coach Curtis Hunt, with former Regina Pat star Dale Derkatch (491 points in 4 seasons) who is currently coaching the Notre Dame Hounds AAA midget team in Wilcox, which is a quick saucer pass from Regina.

I made a few phone calls before writing this, one to Pats G.M. Brent Parker, whom I'm still waiting to hear back from, and another to Regina Leaderpost columnist extraordinaire Rob Vanstone. What I gathered from RV is that, as sure as the snow melts in spring, this rumour comes up each year. But it does have some merit. Sillinger is a home grown Regina boy, who played 4 seasons with the Pats, and still owns a home in the city.

And after playing for a record 12 teams, and getting traded 9 different times, also the most in league history, Sillinger is nearing the end of his career, and might want to be involved with a team he won't get traded from.

It's also not uncommon for former and current NHLers to get into the business of owning WHL teams. Darryl Sydor, Jarome Iginla and Shane Doan own a piece of Kamloops, and Brent Sutter of course is the boss in Red Deer.

While this sale might not happen this year, I believe it's inevitable that Sillinger will one day be the main man in Pat land.

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