Hockey fans in the Queen City may want to hold off on their hot vacations until after the Family Day long weekend.
The Regina Pats announced a weekend full of 100th anniversary festivities that include two outdoor games on Feb. 17 and 18 at Mosaic Stadium.
The first, to be held on Saturday, is an NHL alumni game that will feature several dozen former NHL players squaring off.
The second, a Highway 1 rivalry match between the Regina Pats and the Moose Jaw Warriors, will be on Sunday.
“It’s such a unique event,” said one the part owners of the Pats, Todd Lumbard, after the announcement Friday morning. “It’s going to be incredible to see 50 former NHL players here playing in the alumni game (including) a lot of Saskatchewan born NHLers. Then to have the WHL game with our TransCanada rivals the Moose Jaw Warriors, that’s going to be great as well.”
The event has been months in the making and the rumours swirling over it for nearly as long.
“It feels great to be able to announce it,” said Shaun Semple, another part owner of the Regina Pats. “I’d be lying to you if I told you it wasn’t quite difficult pulling it all together … we’re very excited to have it go forward. I think it will really be a once in a lifetime event.”
The club has already announced eight former NHLers who will be in town for the alumni game which includes Bryan Trottier, Garth Butcher, Bernie Federko, Grant Fuhr, Clark Gilles, Wendal Clark, Brian Propp and Scott Niedermayer.
Semple promises that many more big-name NHL alumni will be announced in the weeks to come.
“We’re going to have an amazing lineup,” Semple said. I’m not here to announce them all today, but I will tell you the best players from Saskatchewan that are still living will be here for the event.”
The current Regina Pats were already on the road for the announcement on Friday, but Lumbard said they’ve been looking forward to this announcement for some time.
And with the game being so late in the season – February 18 – it could have playoff implications for both Regina and Moose Jaw.
“It’s going to be important that this is done right because we want all the players to have a chance to play good hockey and entertain the fans,” Lumbard said, adding he also wants the Pats to pick up the win.
The weekend’s events will kick off on Friday, Feb. 16 with the Pats Community Foundation Honours Dinner. NHL and WHL alumni will be in attendance for the gala which will be used in part to recognize and thank the military for their sacrifices.
Saturday, Feb. 17, is when you’ll be able to watch the alumni in action at Mosaic Stadium and Sunday, Feb. 18, is when the Pats and Warriors will play.
The weekend will end on the holiday Monday with a partnership with the Regina winter festival Waskimo, which will include activities on the ice at Wascana Lake all day.
“This is world class,” an enthusiastic Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said. “This is taking the Pats, the CHL, the Memorial Cup, the whole experience to a completely different level than we thought, so this is remarkable.”
“Between these series of events and the Memorial Cup (in May) and maybe others yet to be announced this will be the biggest series of events in attendance that the province will ever see,” added Semple.
Tickets for the festivities are not on sale yet, but details will be coming out in the next few weeks.