“At least a game as good as tonight (Friday’s semi-final win over Hamilton) and probably harder or better, however you want to word it.”
That is what Regina Pats coach John Paddock feels will get his team the Mastercard Memorial Cup championship on Sunday night.
In what will be the biggest hockey game in the history of the Brandt Centre, a building that opened up in 1977, the host Pats will try to cap off their 100th Anniversary Season by winning the 100th edition of the tournament when they meet the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
While the game will be a special one for all on the ice, it may have even more significance for Pats forward Austin Pratt.
“I’ve dreamed about this since I was a little kid.” Pratt said after Friday’s 4-2 win over Hamilton in the semi-final. “I watched the CHL when I lived in Iowa and Minnesota hoping to have a chance to play in a game like this. My dad is from Canada and my grandfather fought in World War 2 so it definitely means a lot to me and my family.”
For Regina defenceman Josh Mahura, he says it will be the biggest game he has played since first lacing up the skates. He says the key is try to keep your emotions in check and not get too hyped up knowing what is on the line.
“All this stuff’s so surreal for us, we’ve been keeping in check pretty good and keeping focused on just hockey so we’re excited already but we know you just can’t get too nervous for this kind of stuff,” Mahura said. “We’ve been playing hockey our all lives so it’s going to be a fun game for all of us.”
The Pats haven’t won the Memorial Cup since 1974. Since then, they have only been to two Memorial Cups—both which were held in Regina. They didn’t make the final in the 1980 event after a controversial game between Cornwall and Peterborough that Cornwall won to prevent Regina from meeting the Ontario champs in a game still talked about today as it is alleged the Petes threw the game to avoid playing the Pats in what was then a three-team tournament,
In 2001, the Pats lost out in overtime to Val D’or in the semi-final.
Due to the Riders pre-season game in Edmonton, the broadcast of the game can be heard on our sister station 104.9–the WOLF starting with the pre-game show at 4 followed by Phil Andrews and the play-by-play starting at 5.