The Regina Pats are getting ready to begin their centennial season, and while some players have returned from NHL camps, there’s still a major one missing. Sam Steel is currently in Anaheim for Ducks training camp.
Head Coach John Paddock admitted Tuesday that he is not sure when Steel will be returning to the team. “The way we look at is his status is somewhat up in the air for different reasons, biggest reason is that he’s a really good player.”
And that’s going to leave a big hole to fill on the Pats roster.
“You’re talking about the top player in Canada last year, it’s a big loss,” Paddock said. “He does a lot of everything for our hockey team, he has since he was 16.”
Paddock said it’s an opportunity for someone to step up to fill that role, but said it isn’t changing how they are preparing for the season. Despite knowing he might not be there to begin the season, the Pats still named Steel the captain of the team as well earlier this year.
“From the first month about three years ago when he was 16, we knew he was going to Captain of the team.”
While the pats will be without their captain, they did get a pair of defencemen back from NHL camps. Jonathan Smart was invited to Toronto Maple Leafs training camp after going undrafted in the 2017 NHL Draft.
“It was a great experience, I learned a lot, it’s amazing being in an organization like that, everyone there’s true pros and you just go there and you watch and you learn.”
He said one of the major things he learned while being there was how to conduct himself around the arena and in the locker room.
Liam Schioler is in his third year with the Pats and was at Edmonton Oilers training camp. He said everyone there knew exactly where to be on the ice, which made it easy to play with the other players.
He said the biggest thing he took away from camp was confidence in his game.
“Just making simple plays and keeping the game simple, that’s what I did over there.”
And while he didn’t share the ice with some of the Oilers superstars, he did say he saw them in the gym a few times.
“(McDavid) and Lucic were the two guys that stood out to me, with Lucic just being a huge guy and McDavid, obviously he’s one of the bets players in the world.”
The Pats will begin the season on the road against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday. They will ten face Brandon in their home opener on Saturday.