Let’s get this out of the way early.
Yes, Pats’ goaltender Max Paddock is related to head coach John Paddock.
John is Max’s uncle.
But despite this connection, Max was rather surprised when he found out the Regina Pats had taken him in the 10th round of the Bantam draft.
“It was a weird moment,” Max admitted.
The then 14-year-old was in computer class at school watching the draft instead of doing his work, but the class ended before he saw his name come up on the screen.
“Before I could even get into the hallway somebody had told me ‘You were drafted by the Pats.’”
Being the coach’s nephew gets him no special treatment, though. His relationship with his head coach is the same as any of his other teammates.
“At the rink it’s all business, but outside of the rink maybe at home or in the summers he’s my uncle, but here I just see him as my coach,” Max said.
“It’s just come to the rink and you practice like you normally would, talk to him like you normally would ( to your coach).”
And right now, like everyone else on his team, Max is waiting for some big news from his head coach: which of the team’s two goaltenders will get the start Friday at the Memorial Cup.
In the mix is Paddock and teammate Ryan Kubic.
Twenty-year-old Kubic joined the Pats as part of a trade deadline deal in January. In the second half of the season, both goaltenders saw time between the pipes, but Paddock impressed with his grace under fire.
In 33 games, Paddock racked up 19 wins and nine losses, a 2.90 goals-against-average and a 0.904 save percentage.
Many considered him a shoe-in to start in the Pats first round playoff matchup against the Swift Current Broncos, but the week the playoffs were set to begin Paddock was injured in practice.
He was unable to take the ice for the entire series leaving Kubic to start in his place.
“It sucks, obviously to be sidelined for that especially how big of a series, how fun it was just being in the crowd and seeing how into it the fans were on both sides,” Paddock said. “It made me want to be a part of it. It did make me feel a little bit helpless watching game seven and hearing that final buzzer go off knowing there was nothing I could have done. I wanted to do something.”
Now he may get his chance on junior hockey’s biggest stage.
Paddock said he expects to hear Thursday which one of the goaltenders will get to start on Friday against the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Memorial Cup opener, but one thing is for sure: he’s excited to be a part of it.
In fact, he’s wanted to be a part of it since he was ten years old and the tournament was hosted in his hometown of Brandon.
“It was almost surreal when we found out we were hosting the Memorial Cup and I had a chance to be on the team. I would be happy even if I was just the third-stringer, just sitting in the stands just as long as I could be a part of it, but to be on the ice for it, or even on the bench it’s going to be probably the best experience of my life so far.”