Don’t expect to see some of the team’s biggest stars at any Pats preseason games in the next few weeks.
Six Regina Pats are heading to NHL rookie camps, aiming for the chance to attend the main training camp that follows.
Among those who left this morning are captain Sam Steel and defenceman Josh Mahura, who will both be attending camp with the Anaheim Ducks.
This isn’t the first time the pair has met with the team though. Both of them went down to California last year during the playoffs and even travelled to Nashville for a playoff game.
In fact, it seems the Ducks – who picked Steel 30th overall in the first round of the draft – are already impressed with the young forward. Pats head coach John Paddock said Steel almost played for the team during the playoff run.
“I think that Sam’s going to be (in Anaheim) for a bit and play some games,” Paddock said Tuesday.
Steel is allowed to play nine games with the big club and still return to the Pats. Last season, he was the WHL’s top scorer earning 131 points.
From the outside, it can seem like a tricky time of year for a minor hockey organization when many of their top players leave the team in pursuit of the ultimate dream, but Paddock sloughed off the idea that it’s difficult.
“You’re glad lots of guys are going because it shows where your team is at,” he explained. “For the most part, I believe I know approximately when they’ll be back.”
Along with Steel and Mahura, the Pats see Jake Leschyshyn head to Las Vegas, Jonathan Smart go to Toronto, Liam Schioler to Edmonton and Matt Bradley head to Minnesota.
Mahura is ready to show what he can do.
“I’m going to go into rookie camp and just play my best and hopefully make it to main camp and stay for as long as I can,” he said.
“I think my game translates pretty well,” he continued. “I think the way the game’s changing and stuff, I think I fit in well and I feel comfortable up there.
Though Mahura did admit to a few mixed feelings, given the Pats are headed into its 100th season and hosting the Memorial Cup.
“It goes both ways. You love playing here and stuff, but at the end of the day (your goal) is to make it to the next level. That’s everybody’s dream.”
The Regina Pats a next preseason game is in Brandon on Friday.
The regular season kicks off with home and home games against the Wheat Kings on Sept. 22 and 23.