Wednesday, July 21, 2010

REGINA PAT ALUMNI - DALE DERKATCH


Dale was born in Preeceville, Saskatchewan, but spent his early years in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At the age of 14, Dale left home to attend school at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. During his two years at Notre Dame, Dale played for the Midget AAA Hounds. He helped lead the Hounds to back-to-back Air Canada Cups, winning the National Championship in 1980 and finishing 4th in 1981, where he won the tournament's M.V.P. award. Also during the 1981 season, Dale was named the Tournament Scoring Champion at the Midget Mac's Tournament in Calgary, recording 37 points in only 6 games.

Dale Davis, stated: In a telephone interview with Dale Derkatch he recalled, "I remember Regina Pats General Manager, Bob Strum, recruited me. He flew to Winnipeg in August and wanted to take my family out for supper.

He then took me up to his hotel room and on his bed was a Regina Pats sweater with my name on the back.


Dale sp
ent the next three seasons playing in the Western Hockey League for the Regina Pats while continuing his education at the University of Regina, majoring in History and minoring in Geography. With the Pats' organization, he currently holds the career all-time points record with 491. Dale set a number of other records while playing for the Pats including:

WHL career playoff points leader, assist leader; most career playoff points, assists; most points in one playoff year (53); as well as most playoff assists in a year (41). While playing for the Pats, Dale was selected to play for his country in two World Junior Championships in 1983 and 1984, winning a bronze medal in Russia in 1983. Also in 1983, Dale was drafted in the 7th round by the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL. Instead of playing in the NHL, he pursued his playing career in Europe, playing for 14 seasons in Finland, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. During this time, Dale won three national championships, two in Germany and one in Italy.

To this day, Dale holds many records in both minor and professional hockey, starting with his days in Wilcox as a Notre Dame Hound. The one accomplishment that he is most proud of is scoring 60 goals in three consecutive seasons for the Regina Pats of the WHL, a feat that has never been duplicated.

After finishing his playing career, Dale joined the Washington Capitals as an amateur scout, assessing and selecting draft eligible players for the Capitals at the NHL's annual entry draft. He worked with the Capitals for 6 years from 1998-2004. In June of 2004, Dale wanted a new challenge, so along with his wife Maria and two children, Madison and Dale Jr., he decided to return to the place where it all started, Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Saskatchewan.

Dale Davis: When asked what the Regina Pats meant to him Dale said, "To have the opportunity to play in the WHL, on the oldest junior hockey franchise in Canada, was a huge privilege. Playing for the Regina Pats was a huge honour. The Pats gave a player (whom everyone said was too small to play in the league) a chance which I'm truly thankful for. A Big thanks to Bob Strumm who made the decision to give me that chance. I would also like to thank Brent Parker who organized the retirement of the Pats sweater #16 in my honour which is undoubtedly the highest honour a player can receive."

By: Regina Leader Post Sports Editor - Rob VanStone:

Dale Derkatch does not remember scoring the goal that I will never forget. The year was 1982. The diminutive Derkatch was in the latter stages of a 142-point rookie season with the WHL's Regina Pats when fans were rendered speechless by the finest of his 62 goals.

"That season, he scored one of the greatest goals I've ever seen,'' Bob Strumm, who was the Pats' general manager at the time, recalled shortly before the team retired Derkatch's No. 16 jersey in December of 1998. "He came down the right wing and, with that great little change of speed he had, beat the defenceman wide and started to go behind the net. The goalie left the post to cover the other side in case of a wrap-around. Dale, who used a full-sized stick, reached from behind the net and jammed the puck in on the side the goalie had vacated. "I had only seen one player score a goal like that before -- Valeri Kharlamov. I have only seen one since -- by Mario Lemieux. Dale's in pretty good company. That defines his skill.''

Strumm saw the goal from the press box. I was in Section R, Row 12, Seat 12.

When Derkatch scored, disbelieving fans were stunned. Jaws dropped. My chins dropped. The goal happened so quickly, so unexpectedly, that the ovation was slightly delayed.

In terms of awe-inspiring plays by Regina-based athletes, what else is in that echelon? A grizzled scribe's top five also includes a diving, one-handed touchdown catch by the Saskatchewan Roughriders' Joey Walters (1982), Riders slotback Ray Elgaard's leaping TD grab in the CFL's West final (1989), Sandra Schmirler's miraculous wick-takeout at the Olympic curling trials (1997) and an end-to-end goal the Pats' Blake Evans celebrated against the Warriors (2001).

Strumm has committed the '82 goal to memory, but Derkatch does not recall it at all -- even when Strumm's highly descriptive quote is dictated to the Pats' all-time leading scorer.

"That sounds good, though,'' the affable Derkatch says with a laugh.

"Maybe I could make a comeback with that.''

How about today? Derkatch is poised to don his trademark jersey for this afternoon's Trans-Canada Clash -- a Pats-Warriors alumni game, which is slated for 2 p.m., at the Civic Centre.

Can fans expect vintage Derkatch?

"Oh, come on,'' he says. "Let's be honest here. What am I now? Forty-two?

Part of it will be the same. I'll be the same height. That's for sure.

That hasn't changed.''

Neither has Derkatch's enthusiasm for the game. He is now the director of hockey development at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. He also coaches the midget AAA Hounds, for whom he played before joining the Pats.

"It was the weirdest feeling the first time we played the Pat Canadians,'' he says. "I walked out and the teams were on the ice doing warmups. I'd look over and go, 'Which team am I with?'

"The Pat Canadians' sweaters look just like the Pats' sweaters.''

Derkatch does not expect to look every bit like the player seasoned Pats fans so affectionately remember. "I'll be happy if I just make it through the first period,'' he says. "The hands are fine. The mind is fine. But it's the wind. It's the shape.

You've got to be able to move and do the things. Hands-wise, I feel good all the time. That's great. I'm always out there showing the kids how to do something, but that's for a brief five seconds. It's not for a whole minute battling for the puck.''

That minute may feel like an eternity for the older or less-conditioned alumni. As difficult as it is to fathom for those of us who vividly remember the exploits of a teenaged Derkatch, he will be one of the elder statesmen in today's game.

"It will be the parents who remember,'' Derkatch says. "The kids' role models are the guys playing now -- and that's normal -- like (the Pats') Kyle Deck and Jordan Eberle. The younger fans are not going to know who I am.