Monday, August 15, 2011

EX-REGINA PATS

RICK RYPIEN IS FOUND DEAD





Details are still sketchy, but former Regina Pats captain and current Winnipeg Jet Rick Rypien has been found dead at his Alberta home. Here is the story from the Globe and Mail.

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Former Vancouver Canucks tough guy Rick Rypien was found dead by a family member on Monday in Crowsnest Pass, Alta.

Rypien, who signed with the Winnipeg Jets in July, had missed most of last season because of a leave of absence from the Canucks for personal issues.

Local RCMP told The Globe and Mail on Monday night that the death was not suspicious.

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The Winnipeg Jets issued this statement upon learning of Rick's death while the Vanco uver Canucks issued this statement.


The Regina Pats issued this statement....


The entire Regina Pats Organization is deeply saddened to hear of the tragic news of the passing of former Regina Pats Captain Rick Rypien. Rick was a tremendous friend, teammate and role model during his time in Regina and he epitomized everything we want our young
men to be as people and as players. We would like to express our deepest sympathies to the Rypie
n family and all of his friends and teammates during this difficult time.”

On a personal note, Rick might have been the best captain the Pats have had in my time watching them. His heart, soul and desire was something else and it was that heart, soul and desire that got him to the NHL.

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Sad moment - Rest in Peace Rick. My thoughts and prayers are with the Rypien family this day. A great true warrior with the Regina Pats.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

REGINA PAT ALUMNI

DENNIS SOBCHUK


By Permission: Taken from Joe Pelletier - WebSite - Greatest Hockey Legends


Dennis Sobchuk is still a hockey legend in Regina, where he starred with the junior Pats in the early 1970s. He played 200 games from 1971 to 1974, registering 191 goals and 225 assists. He was named the most valuable player of the 1974 Memorial Cup. He later had his number retired and is undoubtedly one of the greatest Pats of all time.

Lorne Davis, the long time Edmonton Oilers scout, remembers his junior exploits well.

"He played with a lot of energy. He could stickhandle and he could really shoot. He played with Clark Gillies (a Hockey Hall of Famer) at the time, people thought that Dennis would be the next great player. That didn't really happen but he had a great junior career."

His junior career was so impressive that he became the first player to sign with a professional hockey team before leaving major-junior hockey. He signed a 10-year, $1-million contract with the WHA's Cincinnati Stingers in 1973. He played the 1973-74 season with the Pats and was loaned to the Phoenix Roadrunners for the 1974-75 season because the Stingers didn't have an arena in which to play.

It was a very controversial move at the time, because of the money and because it was likely Sobchuk would have been the top player selected in the 1975 NHL draft. The WHA stole him before the NHL even had a chance, opening up a controversial practice the WHA would use with many of Canada's top junior players.

Sobchuk played for Phoenix, Cincinnati and Edmonton in 348 WHA games from 1974 through to 1979. He scored 145 goals and recorded 186 assists. His best offensive season was with the Stingers in 1976-77 when he had 44 goals and 51. Not bad, but his scoring and his play deteriorated from that season onward. He later tried resurrect his career in the NHL, but to no avail.

"Discipline-wise it may have helped me to go to the NHL," said Sobchuk, who played 35 games in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings and Quebec Nordiques. "They were more structured in their foundation. In the WHA, we were just happy to have 18 guys on a team. One game we were supposed to play the Minnesota Fighting Saints and the Houston Areos came out because Minnesota folded that day. It was hard for a 20-year-old to be as serious in hockey as I would have been in the NHL."

Injuries really hampered Sobchuk's career.

"I had three shoulder separations and the third time they removed about six inches of my clavicle,'' Sobchuk said. "They told me at the time that when I turned 50 that I would have arthritis. It's hard to believe that I ever got to 50. It doesn't bother me now.

"It happened during the middle of my career when I was rolling," Sobchuk said. "The injuries happened one, two, three and it took the burning desire out. It seemed like every year I was battling to get back in shape. The guys were bigger. It wasn't as easy to get back in the stirrups. It wasn't fun again. It was work."

Sobchuk retired in 1983. He briefly returned to Regina to try his hand at coaching, but soon relocated to Bellingham, Washington, just south of the British Columbian border. He was involved in the construction of the local arena there, and soon turned to building and selling homes.

Friday, August 5, 2011

EX-REGINA PATS - GREG JOLY


Taken from the Wahsington Capitals web site -

Washington Capitals during two very disappointing seasons, Greg Joly is one of the most notable names in team history. The defenseman was the Capitals first draft choice, selected number one overall in the 1974 entry draft, and became the first player to sign a contract with the expansion franchise.

Drafted out of Regina of the WCHL after leading them to a Memorial Cup championship the previous season, the Alberta native spent his entire rookie season with the Capitals in their inaugural season if 1974-75. Hampered by a knee injury midway through the season, Joly appeared in only 44 games, recording one goal and seven assists, and posted a plus/minus rating of minus-68.

With his first professional season behind him, Joly began the 1975-76 season with Richmond of the AHL but was recalled by the Capitals after only three games. Although the Capitals were unable to improve much in their second season - winning 11 games as opposed to eight - Joly, only 22, showed some progress. In 54 games, he led team defenseman in scoring with eight goals and 17 assists. However, being a number-one overall pick, the expectations that Joly would become the young team’s franchise player were beginning to fall flat.

After beginning the 1976-77 with Springfield of the AHL, the Capitals, in desperate need of veteran leadership and running out of patience, traded Joly to Detroit in exchange for Bryan Watson in November 1976.

Joly appeared in 276 games over seven seasons with Detroit following his departure from Washington and retired from professional hockey at 31. Like many before and after him, Joly never did live up to the expectations and pressure of being a number-one draft pick.