Pats captain Sam Steel grew up playing on an outdoor rink at his home in Sherwood Park, but he knows that’ll be a dim comparison to what the Pats will be doing on February 18.
The team announced Mosaic Stadium will host two outdoor games as part of the Pats 100th anniversary celebrations.
The first, an NHL alumni game on Feb. 17 and the second, a match between Regina and their Highway 1 rivals the Moose Jaw Warriors on Feb. 18.
“It’s going to be surreal for sure,” Steel said after Saturday night’s game. “I’m excited for that and I’m sure the organization is going to do a great job with it.”
The Pats were on the road to Medicine Hat when the games were announced, but that hasn’t dulled the buzz around the locker room.
“I think that’s something, we see the games on TV, and they’re awesome. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like to be a part of it,” said forward Jake Leschyshyn.
“I’m really looking forward to it and I know the rest of the boys are.”
The two outdoor games are perhaps the highlight of a Family Day weekend full of activities which start with a gala dinner on Friday, Feb. 16 and end with Waskimos events on Wascana Lake on Feb. 19.
The alumni game will have 50 former NHLers in attendance including Bryan Trottier, Garth Butcher, Bernie Federko, Grant Fuhr, Clark Gilles, Wendal Clark, Brian Propp and Scott Niedermayer.
Pats owner Shaun 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 Pats versus Warriors game will also be a can’t miss as the game comes near the end of the WHL season and could have playoff implications.
Pats head coach John Paddock said the players are definitely looking forward to it, but they’re trying not to get too ahead of themselves.
“I think for them it’s sort of a process, so you’re looking ahead but you’re looking ahead sort of slowly. They know they have to win games … but I mean I think they’re all pretty excited about the possibilities,” Paddock said.
“It’s real exciting, it’s exciting when you look ahead to it. It’s a historical event itself, it’s a historic season … Just to think of playing in that field and outside, it’s really special when you can be involved in those things,” he added.
Ticket information for the outdoor games is expected to come out in the next couple of weeks.