Friday, September 10, 2010

REGINA PATS - PUP LINE

HONOURED BY INDUCTIONS



Story



Jamie Heward (left) and Mike Sillinger (right) are 2010 Regina Sports Hall of Fame inductees. Frank Kovacs (centre) was inducted in 2009.

Photo by: Roy Antal, Regina Leader Post - files

Mike Sillinger, Jamie Heward and Frank Kovacs formed a Hall of a Fame line.

Appropriately, Sillinger and Heward have joined Kovacs in the Regina Sports Hall of Fame. Sillinger, Heward and Kovacs debuted with the WHL's Regina Pats during the 1987-88 season, when the three 16-year-olds comprised the Pup Line.

"It's very special to go in with those guys,'' Sillinger said Thursday after the 2010 inductees were introduced at the Regina Inn. "We played minor hockey disliking each other. We got our start in junior hockey with the Pats and became very good friends.''

Sillinger, Heward and Kovacs were teammates with the Pats from 1987 to 1991. Kovacs spent an additional season with the local WHL team, serving as the captain during the 1991-92 season. Of the three players, Kovacs was the last to leave the Pats and the first to enter the Hall.

"That just means he retired earlier,'' Sillinger said with a laugh.

Kovacs concluded his pro hockey career in 2000 after playing in the minor leagues and in Europe over a period of eight seasons. He is now a Regina police constable.

Sillinger and Heward both reached the NHL. Sillinger played 1,049 big-league games while suiting up for 12 different teams. Heward played in 394 NHL games for seven different organizations.

In 2009, Heward and Sillinger were Kovacs' guests when he entered the Regina sports shrine.

"I didn't realize how popular we are,'' Heward said with a laugh. "The Pup Line was a gimmick to get people in the seats. At the time, we were all 16 and we had no idea if any of us would play beyond junior, but we all ended up playing pro.

"It's an honour for us to be recognized by the Hall.''

Although Sillinger, Heward and Kovacs were all well-travelled in the pro hockey ranks, all roads eventually led back home to Regina.

Sillinger and Heward both completed their NHL careers in 2009. Sillinger is now the Edmonton Oilers' director of player development. Heward, who helped out with the Pats as an assistant coach last season, is now "chasing my kids around'' while pursuing opportunities in hockey.

Jamie and Ticia Heward have an 11-year-old daughter (Irelyn) and a seven-year-old son (Blake). Mike and Karla Sillinger have three sons -- Owen (13), Lukas (10) and Cole (7).

In addition to their family and hockey commitments, Sillinger and Heward work extensively with their charitable organization, the Shooting Stars Foundation. The foundation has generated more than $200,000 for local children's charities over the past four years.

On Oct. 7, Sillinger and Heward will be formally inducted into the Hall alongside fellow athletes Rob Pyne (football, basketball) and Jim Park (rally driving). The Hall's class of 2010 also includes the late Sam Stewart (basketball), who is being inducted as a builder, and the Kiwanis Club of Regina, which is being recognized as a patron for its support of Regina high school football.

The eighth annual induction ceremony is to be held at the Regina Inn's Wascana Ballroom, beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 (adults) and $15 (children 12 and under). Tickets are available from any Hall director or by calling ceremonies chair Cathy Glasser at 584-7230.

REGINA SPORTS HALL OF FAME 2010 INDUCTEES:

ATHLETES:

JAMIE HEWARD: Played defence and right wing for WHL's Regina Pats, 1987 to 1991 ... First-round draft choice of Pittsburgh Penguins, 1989 ... Played in 394 NHL games, suiting up for Toronto, Nashville, New York Islanders, Columbus, Washington, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay ... Had 79 goals and 174 assists in NHL ... Also played in minor leagues, Switzerland and Russia ... Member of Canadian national team, 1994-95 ... Also played in 1995, 2003 and 2004 world men's hockey championships ... Born and raised in Regina.

JIM PARK: Accomplished rally driver ... Saskatchewan rally championship winner in 1973, 1976, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1988 ... Prairie Region Performance Rally Championship series champion in production class, 1981 ... Prairie Region Navigational Rally Championship series driving champion, 1989 ... Western Canadian Performance Rally Champion series driving champion, 1982 and 1983 (production A class) ... Born in Yorkton.

ROB PYNE: Played defensive back and on special teams in CFL with Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton, 1972 to 1975 ... Member of Regina Rams, 1969 to 1971 ... Luther grad also played college football at Tulsa University under Riders legend Glenn Dobbs ... Earned all-conference honours with University of Regina Cougars men's basketball team, 1971-72 season ... Extensive coaching experience in minor and high school football ... Received Regina Minor Football's coach-of-the-year award, 2009 ... Born and raised in Regina.

MIKE SILLINGER: Played centre with Regina Pats, 1987 to 1991 ... Three-time 50-goal and 100-point scorer with Pats ... Pats' captain in 1990-91 ... Represented Canada at 1991 world junior hockey championship and 2000 world men's hockey championship ... First-round draft choice of Detroit Red Wings, 1989 ... Had 240 goals and 308 assists in 1,049 regular-season games, while playing for NHL-record 12 teams ... Born and raised in Regina.

BUILDER

SAM STEWART: Coached University of Regina Cougars men's basketball team, 1944 to 1961 ... Helped develop the program in addition to playing a role in the team being nicknamed the Cougars ... Coached Regina Crescents, who won seven provincial senior men's basketball championships ... Active in basketball officiating as referee, organizer, evaluator and clinician ... Playing captain of Army and Navy Veterans basketball team that won Saskatchewan senior men's championship, 1946 ... Born in Halifax ... Died on Aug. 22, 1983, two days shy of 68th birthday.

PATRON

KIWANIS CLUB OF WASCANA: Sponsor of Regina high school football since 1954 ... Since then, the ranks have grown from four teams to 16 ... Awards bursaries to Regina Intercollegiate Football League players, managers and trainers ... Presents merit award to school with best spirit ... Instrumental in assigning doctors to each team ... With the assistance of local dentists, made mouthguards mandatory in 1970s ... Also put programs in place to develop student athletic trainers.