Friday, February 3, 2012

1978-1979 - SEASON

Regina Pats hire Gregg Pilling as their new coach. Gregg played semi-pro from 1964-65 t0 1971-72. Coached Roanoke Valley Rebels from 1972-73 to 1973-74. Then was Coach and General Manager of Philadelphia Firebirds (NAHL) from 1974-75 to 1976-77. Finally Coached Fort Wayne Komets during the 1977-78 season.

Regina Pats' Del Wilson becomes Executive Assistant (Vice President) of the WHL. On Wednesday, April 19, 1978, Calgary Realtor, Jim Morley, purchased the Calgary Wranglers from majority owner Gerry Brisson.

In 1978, the League changed its name to the Western Hockey League to show that they were no longer just Canadian. Teams from across the USA border; Portland, Seattle and Billings were now part of the League as well. (Photo: Gregg Pilling)

Flin Flon Bombers' franchise moved to Edmonton under Bill Hunter and restaurant owner Vic Mah. The new club became known as the new Edmonton Oil Kings.

1978-1979 REGINA PATS ROSTER - Goalies: Jeff Lastiwka, Gam Burnett, Greg Dumba, Ken McNabb, Barry Wilcox, Al Wiebe Defense: Darren Veitch, Dave Monson, Trevor Bowering, Allan May, Chris Kilcher, Kelly Livingston, Bruce McLean, Darren Hagen, Mitch Jones, James Pearson, Lance Davis, Gregg Lynott, Brian Inkster, Tim Wicijowski, Ted Vail, Centre: Doug Wickenheiser, Jari Helle, Jock Callander, Kevin Burns, Wade Dawson, Dean Solheim, John Eger, Doyle Wankel, Wayne Merkel, James Pearson Right Wing: Dirk Graham (Captain), Darren Bobyck, Brent Pascal, Ron Propp, Paul Kindrachuk, Larry Jones, James Pearson, Dale Goegan, George Trainor Left Wing: Brian Varga, Ron Parent, Bill Ansell, Barry Ziegler, Jim Leavins, Garth Baratta, Larry Jones, Kimmo Lahtinen, Sandy Beadle, Don Henry, Ron Seidlik Coach: Greg Pilling Assistant Coach: Gerry Zrymiak Manager: Del Wilson Trainer: Norm Fong

Friday, December 8, Doug Wickenheiser scored 4 goals and had 3 assists for a seven point outing as Regina downed visiting Saskatoon 12-6. All his four goals came in the first period. The following Wednesday, December 13, the Brandon Wheat Kings suffered their first loss in 49 League games, going back to last season. Tuesday, April 10, 1979, Edmonton Oil Kings' owners Bill Hunter, Vic Mah, Ed and George Assely, Ed Hughes, Wayne Tennant sold their franchise to a Portland, Oregon, group and the franchise moved to Great Falls, Montana. Reason for the move was the poor support the team had received that year.

There were no overtime games during the regular schedule. Regina Pats finished in fourth and last place in the East Division Standings. Regina Pats' Right Winger Dirk Graham is selected on the WHL Second All-Star Team.

For the second consecutive year in a row Regina Pats did not make the play-offs. Brandon Wheat Kings became the Western League champions in six games over the Portland Winter Hawks. It was Peterborough Petes (OHA) and Trois-Rivieres Draveurs (QMJHL) from the east. The Memorial Cup tournament was staged in the three Quebec cities of Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivieres and Verdun. The Championship game had Peterborough winning in overtime 2-1 against Brandon Wheat Kings.

Front Row:
Ken McNabb, Darren Veitch, Greg Pilling (Coach & General Manager), Dirk Graham, Jerry Zrymiak (Assistant Coach), Trevor Bowering, Jeff Lastiwka Middle Row: Al Wielgoz (Assistant Trainer), Jim Pearson, Barry Ziegler, Kevin Burns, Greg Lynott, Doug Wickenheiser, Brian Inkster, Lance Davis, George Trainor, Ron Parent, Norm Fong (Trainer) Back Row: Brian Varga, Dean Solheim, Doyle Wankel, Dave Monson, Darren Bobyck (Photo: Marcia Wickenheiser - Collection)