Friday, February 3, 2012


The Start of the New (WCJHL)

The start of the new (WCJHL) The Western Canada Junior Hockey League, was formed in June, 1966. The meeting took place at the Riding Mountain National Park summer resort village of Clear Lake one hundred kilometres north of Brandon, Manitoba. (Photo: Riding Mountain National Park - Summer Resort, Clear Lake, Manitoa - file)

When the League had begun in the fall, there were seven teams – five from Saskatchewan: the Regina Pats, Estevan Bruins, Moose Jaw Canucks, Weyburn Red Wings, and Saskatoon Blades. The others were from Alberta: the Calgary Buffaloes and Edmonton Oil Kings.

A new Major Junior Hockey Association was developed in Canada. The Three leagues, Quebec, Ontario and the Western joined and the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League was formed. Conflict between the CAHA and CMJHL resulted as the CMJHL raised the junior age limit to twenty-one and the CAHA lowered its junior age to nineteen. The age change resulted in the CMJHL losing its right to participate for the Memorial Cup. Owners of franchises in the CMJHL wanted players on their teams for the extra year to help increase revenue and have a more consistent line up from year to year. As a result, the CMJHL operated as an independent league that year.

The following year, in 1967-1968 season, the League changed its name from the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League to the Western Canada Junior Hockey League and agreed to abide by the policies of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association. (CAHA)

In the summer of 1968 the WCHL once again fell out with the CAHA. This time over the use of over-age players. CAHA lowered the age limit for juniors to 19 while WCHL wanted the cut-off to be 21. WCHL owners argued that older players increased revenue for teams and allowed more consistent lineup from year to year. The League also permitted players who entered an accredited 4 year university program to continue playing Junior "A" players until age 22. The Result was that once again WCHL was out operating as an independent league not able to play in the Canadian Memorial Cup. Three teams dropped out of the WCHL that year, one being the Regina Pats. The Pats opperated in the Saskatchewan Amatuer Junior Hockey League for the next two years and in 1970 rejoined the WCJHL along with a new entry, Medicine Hat Tigers.
In the 1971-72 season the League expanded to British Columbia with franchises in Vancouver, New Westminster, and Victoria.

In 1978 the league once again changed its name to the Western Hockey League to show that they were no longer just Canadian. The league now had teams from across the United States boarder, Portland Oregon, Seattle, Washington and Billings, Montana.

1966-1967 REGINA PATS ROSTER - Goalies: "Tiny Tim" Tabor, Glen "Chico" Resch, Warren "Mouse" Fisher Defense: Murray Flegel, Mike Mungall, Wayne Morusyk, Brian Boyd, Dennis Leroux, Richard Brown, Bob Taylor, Barry "Diesel" Cummins, John "Bear Cat" Statz Centre: Brian Lavender, Barry Meissner, Laurie Yaworski, Ken Cross Right Wing: Ron Snell, Greg Weisshaar, Rick Sentes (Captain), Bob Owen, Don Saleski Left Wing: Ernie Hicke, Ron "Garby" Garwasiuk, Ken Faranski, Garry Leippi, Ken Cross Coach: Bob Turner Manager: Del Wilson Trainer: Chuck Walsh Assistant Trainer: Bob Kelly Statistician: Ron "Scoreboard" Johnston

Regina Pats finished in third place with 69 points behind Edmonton Oil Kings with 78 points, followed by Estevan Bruins with 71 points. Regina Pats had four players finish in the top six scorers; Rick Sentes, second with 127 points, Brian Lavender, fourth with 110 points, Ernie Hicke 103 points and Ken Faranski with 94 points. Right Winger, Rick Sentes was selected to the First All-Star, and Ron Garwasiuk was the League Top Rookie (Butch Paul Memorial Trophy).

CMJHL Quarter Play-off - Tuesday, March 21, a solid team effort and a sparkling puck-blocking demonstration by rookie netminder Glen "Chico" Resch led Regina to a 3-1 victory over Weyburn Red Wings at the Exhibition Stadium. Resch replaced Tim Tabor who was sidelined, with a fractured right finger. All three Regina Pats lines were in the scoring.

Weyburn's rookie Larry McDonald, made a rink long rush from his own blueline, and he then made a goal mouth pass to Elgin McCann at 2:42 of the second period to open the scoring. Ernie Hicke of Regina tied the game five minutes later. With one minute left in the period, Ron Garwasiuk recieved a blueline pass, went around the defenders and scored 30 feet out. In the third period Laurie Yaworski scored on a rebound from Murray Flegel's blueline shot. The turning point was early in the third period when Resch robbed Doug Abel on a break-a-way.

Thursday, March 23, Regina Pats scored a come from behind 6-5 victory over Weyburn at the Colosseum. Pat's led 2-1 after the opening frame even though outshot badly 17-8. Both teams were tied 4-4 after the second period. Regina's Rick Sente’s and Barry Mesissner scored early in the third period. Weyburn's Wayne Wilson scored at 18:13 to close out the scoring. Resch, who was brilliant in the opening game, made 39 saves. Veteran Ernie Hicke was Pats top attacker with two goals while Elgin McCann was Red Wings best with two goals.

Sunday afternoon, April 2, Regina Pats with a four goal-second period splurge, defeating the Weyburn Red Wings 6-4 at Regina Exhibition Stadium. A ten day layoff, caused when neither rink had ice available, seemed to have little effect on either club. Ken Faranski and Ron Snell scored two goals each for Regina Pats while Elgin McCann was Weyburns’ top scorer with two goals. There was no scoring in the first period. Regina took a 4-1 lead after the second period. Weyburn closed it to 4-3 early in the third period before Pats scored 2 goals by the mid point. Weyburn scored one minute later.

Tuesday, April 4, a sparkling four-goals by Weyburns' Elgin McCann helped the Wings to a 7-5 win over the Pats. Barry Meissner, Reginas' most consistent player in the play-offs, scored three markers. Meissner's two goals in the first period gave Pats a 2-0 lead. Weyburn tied it with 2 quick goals 25 seconds apart at 4:05. Both clubs then exchanged goals to take a 3-3 tie into the final period. Weyburn scored 3 goals in 3 minutes and 2 seconds early, then had to hold on desperately as Regina scored 2 before the winners scored with 14 seconds left into an empty net.

Friday, April 7, with the best offensive display in the play-offs todate, Pats thumped the Weyburn Red Wings 9-4 at the Regina Stadium. Ron Garwasiuk league rookie of the year from St. Paul, Alberta, scored a hat trick for the winners. Ernie Hicke was Pats other best with two goals. Len Robbins missing the first two games due to a leg injury, tallied twice for the Weyburn. The first three goals were scored in 29 seconds by Ernie Hicke 8:22, Weyburn's Beaudin at 8:35 then Regina's Ken Faranski at 8:51. Pats had period leads of 3-2 and 6-3. In the third period Pats scored 3 goals before Weyburn scored with 2 minutes left in the game.

League Semi-Final - Wednesday, April 12, Estevan Bruins skated to a 5-1 victory over Regina Pats before a turn out at the Civic Auditorium. It was a big win for coach Ernie "Punch" McLean, who had his top veteran all-star Jim Harrison out for the remaining season with a cracked fifth vertebra. Estevan's Danny Schock flipped in his own rebound at 14:42 of the first period. Grant Erickson at 3:33 and Dale Hodsgson at 8:02 the first period. Grant Erickson at 3:33 and Dale Hodgson at 8:02 of the second gave the Bruins a 3-0 lead before Regina's Rick Sentes on a man advantage scored Pats only tally with three minutes left in the second. Greg Sheppard and Morris Stefaniw scored 2 more goals in the third period.

Friday, April 14, coach Bob Turner's Pats took a 5-1 victory over Estevan at the Exhibition Stadium. Ron Snell led the Regina attack scoring a pair of second period goals that put the game out of reach. Veteran Terry Kerr scored Bruins lone goal, spoiling Tim Tabor's shutout bid. It was Tabor's first game in six weeks. Regina took a 2-0 lead after the first period on Ken Faranski and Brian Lavander's goals. Estevan's Terry Kerr made it 2-1 on a quick shot from close in early in the second period before Regina scored 3 goals less then five minutes apart to put the game out of reach.

Sunday afternoon, April 16, a goal with only four minutes left in regulation time by Rick Sentes gave Pats a 5-5 draw with Estevan at the Civic Auditiorium. Sentes, the veteran Pat captain, led Regina with two goals. Both teams exchanged goals in the first period before Estevan went ahead 5-4 in a wild scoring second period. The tying goal came at 15:57 when Brian Lavander dug the puck out from the left corner and passed it back to Bob Taylor. Sentes, who was uncovered infront of the net, took the pass and scored on a screen shot.

Monday, April 17, the defending Memorial Cup Champion’s Bill Gadsby's Edmonton Oil Kings were eliminated by fourth place Moose Jaw Canucks in their best of nine series.

Wednesday, April 19, Tim Tabor turned in a spectacular puck- blocking display in helping the Pats to a 6-5 decision over Estevan at the Regina Stadium. Ron Snell paced Pats with three goals. It was Regina 3-1 after the first period. Regina took a 4-1 lead before Estevan scored 3 straight goals in 8 minutes to tie the game. Regina's Ron Snell scored at 14:25 to give his club a 5-4 lead going into the third period. Estevan's Grant Erickson, near the 2 minute mark, tied the game only to have Pats Brian Lavender score the winner 31 seconds later at 2:14 as he tipped in Bob Taylor's shot from the point. Ron Snell paced Pats with three goals. It was Regina 3-1 after the first period. Regina took a 4-1 lead before Estevan scored 3 straight goals in 8 minutes to tie the game. The weatherman forced the cancellation of Friday's game.

Saturday, April 22, Regina knocked off the Estevan Bruin 7-3 at the Civic Centre. Forechecking and a three goal performance by Rick Sentes helped the Pats scoring. Barry Meissner scored three unanswered goals in the final period. At one point Pats led 4-0 in the second period, before Estevan triggered three straight goals. Regina had period leads of 2-0 after the first and 4-3 after the second period.

Sunday afternoon, April 23, Regina whipped Estevan 6-3 to advance to the League final against Moose Jaw Canucks. It was Rick Sentes scoring three goals, all in the first period. A goal by Ken Cross, his first with the major club since moving up from the “B” ranks two months before, was the winning goal in the third period. Rick Sentes opened the scoring with 2 quick goals 40 seconds apart early in the first period. Pats got into penalty trouble early in the second period as Estevan scored two goals to tie the game 3-3. Pats lead 3-1 after the first period and held a 4-3 edge after the second period.

League Final - Monday, April 24, three-first period goals by Moose Jaw Canucks led them to a 5-2 victory over the home club, Regina Pats, at the Regina Stadium. It was Regina's third game in as many days while Moose Jaw were fresh from a 10-day lay-off after eliminating first place Edmonton Oil Kings. Rookie Jerry Millar, up from the junior "B" ranks, led the Canucks with a pair of goals.

With Moose Jaw's Ken Hodge in the penalty box, Ernie Hicke coughed up the puck and Garth Rizzuto sent Don Walker in all alone on Tim Tabor to give the Canucks a two goal lead in the first period. At the 12 minute mark Defenceman Barry Long gave the local Moose Jaw Canucks a 3-0 lead before Pats Ron Garwasiuk scored with 1 minute left on a three-way play. The third period was scoreless.

Wednesday, April 26, Moose Jaw scored twice in the opening three minutes and went on to down the Regina Pats 3-1 as the spectators jammed the 2,800 seat Civic Centre. Pats errors have been costly in this series. Monday, it was Barry Meissner off with a minor and major which gave Moose Jaw two power play goals for the victory. With Moose Jaw's Ken Hodge in the penalty box, Ernie Hicke coughed up the puck and Garth Rizzuto sent Don Walker in all alone on Tim Tabor to give the Canucks a two goal lead in the first period. At the 12 minute mark Defenceman Barry Long gave the local Moose Jaw Canucks a 3-0 lead before Pats Ron Garwasiuk scored with 1 minute left on a 3-way play. The third period was scoreless.

Friday, April 28, a blast against his veterans paid-off as a solid two-way effort helped Regina blank Moose Jaw 5-0 at the Regina Exhibition Stadium. Leading the way was Pats line of Ernie Hicke, Brian Lavender and Rick Sentes. Hicke and Sentes each scored twice while Lavender picked up four assists. Pats scored three power play goals on four chances in the first period as they roared to a 4-0 lead. Regina added the other goal in the second period.

Saturday, April 29, a standing room only crowd at Moose Jaw Civic Centre saw the Canucks down Pats 8-3. Moose Jaw roared to a 3-0 first period lead and never looked back. Canucks' Don Walker, top scorer during the regular season, sparked the club with a pair of goals. Moose Jaw upped the scored to 4-0 in the second period before Regina Pats Brian Lavender and Rick Sentes scored. It was Moose Jaw 5-2 after the second period. Ron Garwasiuk scored for Regina in the final period.

Sunday afternoon, April 30, Moose Jaw Canucks finished the regular season in fourth place and became the first winners of the Monsignor Athol Murray Trophy, when they defeated the Regina Pats 4-2 at the Regina Exhibition Stadium. This Trophy is emblematic of the League Champions. Approximately just over 500 Canuck supporters cheered the club onto victory in the last few minutes of the game. The first team to score went on to victory in all five games in the series. It was a team effort all the way.

In the semi-final they shook off 9-0 and 4-0 setbacks in the first two games at the Edmonton rink. The Canuck club fought back in Moose Jaw with a 4-4 tie and 4-2, 6-5 victories. They returned to Edmonton for a 4-4 and 6-6 ties to eliminate the defending Memorial Cup Champs in a nine game series.

Front Row: Barry Meissner, Glen Resch, Rick Sentes, Tim Tabor, Murray Flegel, Warren Fisher Second Row: Ron Johnston (Statistican), Bob Turner (Coach), Ron Snell, Barry Cummins, Dennis Leroux, Brian Lavender, Bob Taylor, Ernie Hicke, Bob Kelly (Trainer), Del Wilson (Manager) Third Row: Richard Brown, _______, John Statz, Gary Leippi, Ken Faranski, _______, Ron Garwasiuk (Photo: Ron C. Johnston - Collection)