Saturday, January 15, 2011

REGINA PATS

MIKE S
ILLINGER NIGHT

JERSEY # 16 RETIRED


by: Ron "Scoreboard" Johnston



Parts taken from the Regina Leader Post:

Mike Sillinger's lengthy hockey career had humble beginnings.

His parents, Bob and Anne Sillinger, lived across the street from an outdoor rink at Al Pickard School in north Regina. Mike was three years old when his skates first touched the ice.

"He would go over to that rink everyday and he would always come home crying," Bob Sillinger explained. "The older boys were picking on him ... but a couple of years later, those older boys would come calling on Mike to join them over at the rink. They wanted Mike to play with them."

Approximately 35 years later, Mike Sillinger earned the respect of the Regina Pats organization as his No. 16 jersey was retired and raised to the rafters of the Brandt Centre prior to Friday, January 14, 2011, WHL game versus the Edmonton Oil Kings.

"I played four fantastic years here with the Pats and have numerous memories from all of my hockey years (in the NHL), but I think this night will stand as one of the all-time great nights for me." Mike Sillinger said after the 30-minute pre-game ceremony.

"I have loved the game ever since I was six or seven years old. I wasn't pushed into it, I didn't have any special coaches. I just worked hard at it and I loved playing."

(Photo: by Rod Pedersen.blog)

(L-R) The Sillinger family - Owen, Lukas, Cole, and wife Karla beside Mike

(Photo by: Don Healy, Regina Leader-Post)

(Photo by: Don Healy, Regina Leader-Post)



(Photo by: Rod Pedersen.blog)

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Mike started his career with the Regina Pats during the 1987-88 season. He played Centre and in his first season played in 67 games, scoring 18 goals, 25 assists for 43 points, finishing 7th in the teams scoring. Mike played with some great players in his rookie season; Craig Endean, Darren McKechnie, Mark Janssen, Mike Van Slooten. Of course we cannot forget that famous "Pup Line" that he played on in that rookie year, lining up with Jamie Heward and Frank Kovacs. Those three once again joined as a line during the 2010 Alumni Trans Canada Clash game against Moose Jaw Warriors. The three were a great hit in helping their club to a 7-4 victory.

For the next three seasons, Mike finished as the number one scorer for the Pats. In the 1988-89 season he finished with 131 points, in 1989-90 with 129 points, and in 1990-91 with 116 points. During those four seasons he played in 266 games, scored 178 goals, had 241 assists for 419 points.

The second year he was selected to the second WHL All-Star Team, the First All-Star team in 1991, and was selected Captain of the Regina Pats.

Mike was the captain of Team Canada at the 2000 World Championship at Petersburg, Russia. He Captured a gold medal with Team Canada at the 1991 World Junior Championships in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Sillinger was drafted 11th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in 1989. He led the AHL in play-off scoring with Adirondack Red Wings in 1991-92 with 28 points in 15 games, was traded to Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 1995, Vancouver Canucks in 1996, Philadelphia Flyers in 1998, Tampa Bay Lightning in 1999, Florida Panthers in 2000, and the Ottawa Senators in 2001. Mike signed as a free agent with Columbus Blue Jackets in 2002. In 2003 he was traded to Dallas Stars and then to the Pheonix Coyotes. In 2004 he was traded to the St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators in 2006 and was signed as a free agent by New York Islanders in 2006. He missed part of 2007-08 season and most of 2008-09 with a hip injury.

Mike played for more teams (12) in his NHL career than any other player in the league history. He scored 240 goals, had 308 assists in 1,049 NHL games, plus 11 goals and 7 assists in 43 NHL play-off games.

Mike finally retired in September 2009, joining the Edmonton Oilers as their new director of player development. Sillinger has made Regina his home.

Sillinger and Jamie Heward started in 2007, the Shooting Stars Foundation. Each year they have a street hockey tournament on Scarth Street in the down town area of Regina. The foundation supports something that is close to both their hearts.