Leader-Post article (Pats history told in new book)October 30 2009 at 9:04 AM
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Response to Vancouver Province article (Yo, MacKenzie, you're hired as the apprentice)
Pats history told in new book
By Greg Harder, Leader-Post
October 30, 2009
Former Leader-Post sports reporter Darrell Davis and former Regina Pats employee Ron Johnston co-wrote Junior Hockey's Royal Franchise: The Regina Pats.Photograph by: Roy Antal, Leader-Post, Leader-PostJamie Heward couldn't help but feel like a Pup again.
Heward joined several fellow alumni in turning back the clock Thursday to celebrate the launch of Junior Hockey's Royal Franchise: The Regina Pats, a book which chronicles the rich history of Canada's oldest major-junior club.
"It was overdue as far as getting an awareness out there of what the history of the franchise is all about," offered the former NHLer, who played for the Pats from 1987 to 1991. "Most people don't know a lot about the Regina Pats' history ... and how it has evolved into such a prestigious franchise in Canada. This is a good way for people to flip back and see guys like Billy Hicke. I've got a cousin in there, Ron Snell, and Larry Wright. All these guys built the foundation for this team a long, long time ago."
Heward is part of that history, best known as a member of the 'Pup Line' along with Mike Sillinger and Frank Kovacs. The trio was together again in honour of Thursday's launch, reliving some of the old stories that were captured in vivid detail by former Leader-Post sports writer Darrell Davis, who collaborated on the book with co-author/researcher Ron "Scoreboard" Johnston, a local hockey historian and ex-Pats statistician who was the driving force behind the project.
"I went away and played pro hockey for years and people would always ask where you're from," noted Heward. "I'd say Regina and right away they would associate it with the Regina Pats. When you go into the Pats dressing room, you see all the names on the wall of people that have been in Stanley Cup finals. You take a look at all the players that have come through this organization and all the things that have happened over the last four or five decades, it's pretty impressive that three young snot-nosed kids from Regina ended up in the book. It's fun having people say, 'I remember you; you were from the Pup Line.' It makes me proud that three Regina guys who dreamed about playing for the Pats when we were younger ended up not only playing but playing on the same line and have still carried a friendship through our lives to this day."
Heward's esteem for the Pats was echoed by his fellow alumni. In fact, none were more proud to be in attendance than the senior members of the group, John Hudson and Orville Off, who played for the Pats from 1952 to '54.
"The Pats' history is fantastic," said Off. "They had a real mystique in the city."
Hudson agreed, noting that the franchise has a way of creating a bond amongst those who've been associated with it.
In his mind, once a Pat, always a Pat.
"I absolutely believe that," said Hudson. "You can feel it in this room today but you can also see it around the city. We have friends that we knew back in our day from playing with the Pats.
"The Pats are a part of my life -- always have been," he added. "The Pats got me a college education. I came back and I coached the Pats a little bit at one point, I became the president. I've had a lifetime of memories with all the history and stories. From back in Orv's and my day, it was just kind of understood that you never thought about doing anything but playing for the Pats."
Jordan Eberle can relate.
The 19-year-old WHL star grew up with the same aspirations while playing his minor hockey in Regina. In fact, Eberle found it surreal that his name would be included in the book -- and therefore be a part of the Pats' enduring legacy.
"You look at some of the generations that were here today, like the Pup Line," he marvelled. "You go through the book and you don't realize how much history there is and how you're just kind of a blip in a huge thing. It's an awesome book. It's special to be a part of something like this."
Junior Hockey's Royal Franchise: The Regina Pats is available at The Neutral Zone (Pats store), Costco, Walmart and major book stores throughout Regina.
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