1979-1980 - SEASON - NINE BUSINESS MEN BUY REGINA PATS
The Pinder family from Saskatoon; Herb, Gerry, Dick, Herb Sr., and Ross had controlling interest of Pats franchise, Wil Klein, Ross Sneath, Gord Knowlton, and Bob Strumm also held shares of the owner- ship. The nine owners bought the Pats during the summer of 1979 until 1983 when Herb became the sole owner.
Bob Strumm former sportswriter, columnist for the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix and general-manager for Billing Bighorns for two years, was named general manager. He brought in coach Bryan Murray from the east to coach the Pats and led the club to the Memorial Cup final in the first year. It was the first time in League history that a last-place team in one season became the champions the following season. (Photo: Bryan Murray)
1979-1980 REGINA PATS ROSTER - Goalies: Bart Hunter, Darren Wilcox, Dave Ross, Darryl Kuntz Defense: Darren Veitch, Bud Langstrom, Barry Trotz, Jeff Marshall, Kelly Livingston, Allan May, Garth Butcher, John McMillan, Mike Rainville Centre: Doug “Wick” Wickenheiser (Captain), Ron Flockhart, Darren Galley, Jock Callander, Wade Dawson, Jim McGeough Right Wing: Mike Blaisdell, Bill Ansell, Brent Pascal, Glen Sorenson, Bob Babchuk, Ron Propp, Dave Michayluk Left Wing: Brian Varga, Darren Bobyck, Barry "Mad Dog" Ziegler, Kevin Burns, Darren Galley, Terry Baratta N/K: Rand Coach: Bryan Murray Coach and General Manager: Bob Strumm Trainer: Peter Kreutz Statistician: Jim Loria
In October, 1979 Mike Blaisdell decides to rejoin the Regina Pats after playing last season with the University of Wisconsin. After a couple years of operation it was announced, on Tuesday, April 10, 1979 the Edmonton Oil Kings were being sold by owners Bill Hunter, Vic Mah, Ed and George Assely, Ed Huges, Wayne Tennant to Pat Cooper of Portland, Oregon. They moved the team to Great Falls, Montana, were they were known as the Americans and they later moved to Spokane. The reason for the move was the poor support the team had received.
It was a Pats year for records: At Regina Saturday, November 11, before 3,001 fans Doug Wickenheiser scored a power play goal at 19 seconds of the first period. Pats went on to score a record seven consecutive power play goals in the first period and nine power play goals in the game as they downed the Medicine Hat Tigers 13-3. In the following game, for the second time Doug scored the opening goal at 41 seconds for a club record; fastest two consecutive opening game goals.
On Wednesday, January 2, at Regina, the Pats ended their 28 consecutive power play goal game streak. At Regina on February 1, Doug Wickenheiser, scored a power play goal to bring his total to twenty-seven, a new club record, as the Pats downed the Billings Bighorns 11-3, before 3,871 Pat onlookers. Wednesday, February 13, Darren Veitch had a goal to bring his season total as a defenseman to 21, another team record. The following Sunday, Darren once again set a new club record, this time for assists as he had two to bring his season total to 93. He went on to have 122 points for the season, another club record as a defenseman.
Rookie right winger Mike Blaisdell recorded his 57th. goal to set a club record and went on to score 71 goals during the League schedule. During the 1974-75 season Don Murdoch of Medicine Hat Tigers scored 82 goals, still a WHL record for a rookie. Wednesday, March 19, before 4,025 fans at the Agridome. Pats downed second place Calgary 15-9, a WHL record for most goals by both clubs; also most goals in one period, as both clubs scored fourteen goals in the second period. Pats outscored the Wranglers 8-6 in what must have been a goalies night mare. Rookie Mike Blaisdell scored 5 goals and had 3 assists for 8 points during the game. At the end of the regular schedule, Regina Pats had five players hit the 100 point plateau. It tied a WHL record, set by Medicine Hat Tigers in the 1971-72 season.
It was a year were the Regina Pat fans could see that their team would be playing in the Memorial Cup series right in their own back yard. What was about to happen at the end of the season is another chapter.
The Great Falls Americans withdrew from the League after only 28 scheduled games, the franchise was moved to Spokane. The Western Division had only four teams. It was the first time two teams finished with over one hundred points. Pats had three players make the WHL All-Star Team: Defenseman Darren Veitch and Centre Doug Wickenheiser on the first team, while Mike Blaisdell was selected to the second team.
WHL AWARD WINNERS – REGINA PATS: Most Valuable Player, Player of the Year, Top League Scorer - Doug Wickenheiser
REGINA PAT AWARDS - Top Rookie (Nick Pappas Memorial Trophy) Ron Flockhart; Most Sportsmanlike Player (The Hub Bishop Memorial Trophy) Darren Bobyck; Top Defenseman (Charles Johnston Memorial Trophy) Darren Veitch; Most Valuable Player (The Barkers Trophy) Doug Wickenheiser, Darren Veitch (Tied); Pats Top Scorer, Doug Wickenheiser; Most Popular Player, Brian Varga; Most Improved Player, Mike Blaisdell; Unsung Hero (Booster Club Award) Bart Hunter
QUARTER PLAY-OFFS - Tuesday, March 25, Lethbridge Broncos almost made an upset as they were down 8-4 going into the last period at the Agridome. Three goals in the final twenty minutes was not enough for coach Vic Stasiuk's Broncos as they were edged 8-7 by Regina. The opening period had both clubs scoring four goals before Pats came up with four straight goals after forty minutes of play. The third was all Lethbridge as Kim Boech scored all of Broncos goals. Mike Blaisdell was Regina's top scorer with 3 goals and 2 assists.
Wednesday, March 26, Regina walked all over Lethbridge 9-2 at the Agridome. It started in the second period with Pats coach Bryan Murray and Lethbridge coach Vic Stasiuk, trying to match line for line. Murray got the last line change and the battle of wits began to show. Gord Williams of the Broncos was trying to match against Pats' Doug Wickenheiser. Wick was being held and hooked, so he changed lines. Lethbridge led 1-0 after the first on Williams' goal. Pats went ahead 4-2 after the second. In the third, coach Murray turned the tables around and put the Sorenson-Callander-Ziegler line against Williams as Blaisdell and Wickenheiser scored two goals each.
Friday, March 28, Despite not playing up to their potential Regina Pats, were able to come through and defeat Lethbridge 7-4 at the Sportsplex. The game was dull, neither team played the type of game they were capable of. Regina’s Bud Langstrom's goal, a long wrist shot off Broncos defenceman Roger Wolfe in the first period, gave Regina a 1-0 going into the second. Regina had 3 goals followed by Lethbridge with 3 before Regina scored 3 straight in the final period. Pats' Brian Varga and Williams had two goals apiece.
Saturday, March 29, Regina defeated Vic Stasiuk's Lethbridge Broncos 4-3 and swept their quarter-final series four straight. Had it not been for former Pat netminder, Greg Dumba, and Doug Morrison, the Broncos could have been beaten quite handily. Dumba made his last junior game a great one by pulling off numerous exceptional saves. Morrison, one of the finest players in the WHL, scored Lethbridge's three goals. Darren Veitch led Regina's scoring with two goals. The game was played before the lowest attendance in the Bronco's six year franchise history.
EASTERN LEAGUE ROUND ROBIN SERIES
- Friday, April 4, Pats thrilled an overflow crowd (5,798) at the Regina Agridome defeating Brandon Wheat Kings 6-3. Regina's goalie Bart Hunter kept the Pats in the game, especially in the first-two periods. The netminder made 39 saves, many of which were hard shots. During the second period defenseman John McMillan made a save that stood out. Hunter had left his net racing half way to the blue line after a loose puck that had gotten away from him. Brandon's Don Gillen gained control of the puck but his shot was blocked by McMillan in the goal crease. Both clubs were tied 2-2 after the first and Pats took a 3-2 lead into the third period. Pats Wickenheiser had two goals for Regina.
Saturday, April 5, Medicine Hat Tigers scored seconds into sudden death overtime to give them a 7-6 victory at the Agridome. Brant Klessing scored the winning goal at 49 seconds of the extra period. Pats goalie Bart Hunter tried to play the puck off the boards. Klessing got behind Hunter and had the open net to score. Tigers top scorer was Brad Kempthorne with three goals. His third goal tied the game at 10:53 of the third, just 20 seconds after the Pats had taken the lead. Ron Flockhart was the Pats big gun scoring three goals. Medicine Hat's goalie Kelly Hrudy played a solid game facing 48 shots, 25 in the final period.
Wednesday, April 9, Regina lost their second straight game in the Round Robin Series at Brandon, losing 6-3. Both clubs held the same record, one win and two losses. Pats missed Brian Varga, especially on the power play as he was sidelined with a shoulder injury. It was Brandon's goalie Ron Popplestone who led the Kings to victory as he faced 46 shots. Brandon had scored 4 goals on Pats defenseman's miscues and all their 6 goals were scored by different players.
Friday, April 11, Pats' goalie Bart Hunter was the hero and the major reason for Regina's 3-1 win over Medicine Hat in Tiger town. The 20 year old faced 41 shots, many in which he was severely tested. Pats loss would have eliminated them from the series. The big difference in the game, besides Hunter, was their power play. Pats scored all their goals with a man advantage. It gave them 15 goals in 28 power play opportunities during the play-offs. Throughout the regular season they were number one in the League with a 33.6 percentage. Pats' Bill Ansell scored 2 goals, both in the second period while Wickenheiser scored in the third period.
Sunday, the last game of the Round Robin had Medicine Hat earning a berth in the eastern division final by defeating visiting Brandon Wheat Kings 7-5.
|EASTERN ROUND ROBIN SERIES ...||GP||GW||GL||G.F||G.A||PTS|
|Medicine Hat Tigers||4||3||1||18||16||6|
|Brandon Wheat Kings||4||1||3||16||19||2|
EASTERN DIVISION FINAL - Monday, April 14, Tigers were flat as the Pats downed Medicine Hat 6-1 at the Regina Agridome, before 4,657 fans. Tigers' goalie Kelly Hrudey faced 48 shots. Pats had period leads of 2-0 and 3-0. It wasn't until the third period that Regina went on a scoring spree with 3 straight goals in the last 4 minutes. Out of those 3 goals, Darren Bobyck tallied twice in the span of eight seconds (16:32 and 16:40) one second off the WHL record held by Brandon's Bill Derlago in 1978 against Flin Flon.
Tuesday, April 15, a brawl marred the game in which the Pats outdid Medicine Hat Tigers 9-1 at the Agridome. Regina dominated the play but the 5,347 fans witnessed a free-for-all which got totally out of hand. It featured both bench's emptying and some brutal fights. Verbal exchanges between coach/manager Paddy Ginnell's Tigers and fans turned into players hurling sticks, gloves, and helmets into the crowd. At one point the Tigers even tried to get into the crowd. Police finally arrived, well after all this started. It all happened at 13:06 of the third period when Pats were leading 8-1 and delayed the game for 1 hour. The brawl resulted in 146 minutes to Medicine Hat and 92 minutes to Regina. Pats Mike Rainville and Darren Veitch both had 2 goals while Brian Varga had 4 assists.
Thursday, April 17, Medicine Hat tallied two quick goals in the final minutes to tie the contest then went on to down Regina 7-6 in overtime at Medicine Hat in front of 2,870 fans. Down 6-4 with less than three minutes left in regulation time, Tigers scored at at 16:14. Brad Kempthorne tied the game from the left side on a wrist shot at 19:21 to force the extra period. Tigers pressured Regina right from the starting whistle in sudden death overtime and had three good scoring chances. Steve Tsujuira finally batted the puck in from the side of the net at 3:21.
Friday, April 18, Pats came out winners as they downed Medicine Hat 5-2 in the gas city as 3,983 onlookers watched the game. Both teams were tied 1-1 after the first period and Regina led 4-2 going into the final period. The third period was scoreless until Mike Blaisdell scored into an empty net with 51 seconds remaining. It was Blaisdell's third goal of the night while Doug Wickenheiser assisted on Blaisdell's goals.
Saturday, April 19, Pats jumped over the boards when Darren Bobyck scored into an empty net with 46 seconds remaining to capture a 6-3 Regina victory. The Regina Agridome 5,141 fans saw Pats get the chance to meet Victoria in the League final. Regina's defenseman Darren Veitch took a shot 1:49 minutes into the third period that went in off a Medicine Hat player. His power play marker drew Pats even. Five minutes later Veitch scored his second to put Regina ahead to stay. Pats scored four straight goals in the final period.
WHL LEAGUE FINAL - Tuesday, April 22, Victoria 4,181 spectators saw the visiting Regina Pats earn a 6-4 victory over the Victoria Cougars at Memorial Arena. Victoria came out skating and held a 2-0 lead after the first. In the second period, Darren Veitch started the Pats scoring at 1:06 a slapshot from the point. Doug Wickenheiser then scored at 7:16 followed by Victoria with 2 goals in the span of 58 seconds to go ahead 4-2. Regina came right back with 2 quick goals: Mike Blaisdell on a break-a-way at 11:04, and Veitch with his second goal at the 12:47 mark. Both clubs were tied 4-4 going into the final period.
Wednesday, April 23, Victoria Cougars dumped Regina 7-2. Pats had a 2-1 lead going into the middle stanza then Victoria took over. Victoria went on to score five straight goals, three in less than three minutes at the sixteen minute mark of the third period. Palmer was Victoria's top scorer with 2 goals and 2 assists. "We missed a couple chances early in the second period, then fell apart. That tying goal deflated us." Pats coach Murray said, following the game.
Thursday, April 24, Darren Veitch powered the Pats to a crucial victory at Victoria as Regina edged the Cougars 4-3. It was Veitch's goal at the thirteen minute mark in the third that turned out to be the winner. He carried the puck from his own end zone and, when he reached Victoria's blueline, let a hard slapshot go. The puck rose up and went between goalie Grant Fuhr's pads into the net. Victoria had period leads of 2-0 and 2-1 after the second. In the third, Pats' Jock Callander tied the game at 2:45 only to see the home team take the lead once again at 9:29. Regina then came back with 2 goals, Bobyck at 11:44 and Veitch at 12:59.
Saturday, April 26, Pats emotion began to build as Regina defeated the Victoria Cougars 7-1 at the Agridome before a record crowd. Regina displayed a killer instinct as Wickenheiser and Ron Flockhart both scored two goals each. Pats had 3-0 and 5-0 period leads. Grant Fuhr started the game in goal for Victoria but had to be removed early in the third period. He had gloved a shot, the momentum of which sent his glove arm into a windmill motion leaving him with a dislocated shoulder.
Sunday, April 27, Regina fans saw Brent Pascal's all important overtime goal put the Regina Pats into the Memorial Cup. At the end of the game the big score board at the centre of the ice read “REGINA PATS 5 VICTORIA 4.” Pascal had been used sparingly by coach Bryan Murray. He had only scored two play-off goals to date and was only on the ice for three shifts during Saturday's encounter. It took 9:41 seconds of sudden death overtime before Pascal batted in Jock Callander's rebound to send his team mates and 5,950 fans into a celebration and the Memorial Cup Tournament. "That was the most important goal of my life." grinned Pascal in Pats' dressing room following the game. Victoria led 2-0 after the first period and Regina Pats 3-2 after the second period. Victoria peppered 48 shots at Pat goal tender Bart Hunter. (Photo: Regina Pats Captain - Doug Wickenheiser hosting the League Trophy - Marcia Wickenheiser - Collection)
Peterborough Petes beat Windsor Spitfires 6-3 Saturday (it was their 11th straight play-off win), while three days later Cornwall Royals defeated Sherbrooke Beavers 5-3 and won the series 4-2.
MEMORIAL CUP FINALIST - The first three games of the Memorial Tournament were played at the Brandon Keystone Centre in Manitoba, the remaining games were moved to Regina Agridome.
Sunday, May 4, Pats were defeated 5-4 in overtime before 4,055 fans as Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. Petes' Mark Reed's quick slapshot at 3:52 of sudden death was the winner. Regina Pats centre Doug Wickenheiser and Peterborough's Bill Gardner took the face off at the left circle of Regina's goalie Bart Hunter. Reed saw the loose puck, took one stride towards it, and shot the puck into the net for the victory. Peterborough took a 3-0 lead into the middle frame. In the second Pats scored two answered goals by Darren Bobyck and one minute later Mike Blaisdell scored on a break-a-way. Regina tied the score early in the third by Glen Sorenson's rebound shot passed goalie Rick LaFerriere. Petes took the lead three minutes later on Andre Hidi's goal. Pats pressed and at 18:36 Brian Varga tipped in Darren Veitch's slapshot from the point to tie the game and force it into overtime.
Monday, May 5, it was a disappointing night as 3,540 saw Regina lose its second game, this time 5-3 to Cornwall Royals of the Quebec Junior Major Hockey League. Three Pat players, Mike Rainville, John McMillan and Darren Galley had played for Cornwall the previous season. Cornwall were able to apply plenty of pressure. Pats big scorers were not producing. Cornwall directed 54 shots at Regina goaltender Bart Hunter. Darren Veitch scored two power play goals, both scored on shots from the mid blueline. Pats other goal was tallied by Brian Varga at 18:43 of the third. Cornwall's top scorer was Marc Crawford with two.
Wednesday, May 7, Pats lost 4-3 to Peterborough at the Regina Agridome as 6,008 fans saw the game. Pats held a 3-0 lead after the second, only to see the Petes come back and score four goals in the third period. It left the Pats and their record supporting fans stunned. In the second period Peterborough's coach Mike Keenan was getting under Pats' coach Bryan Murray's skin. Petes' assistant captain Bill Gardner repeatedly asked referee Glen Agar to examine Regina's Doug Wickenheiser's glove. With Agar not co-operating, Keenan called his troops to the bench. It resulted in a bench penalty. Then Agar examined the glove and gave Doug Wickenheiser a penalty for an illegal glove that had a hole in its palm. It upset the Pat players as it was not cut but caused by wear. This all occurred at the 15:56 mark of the third period.
Thursday, May 8, 5,884 spectators saw that Regina Pats were back in form as they got their offence on track and hammered Cornwall 11-2. Mike Blaisdell and linemate Ron Flockhart triggered six points apiece, tying the Memorial Cup record for most points in a game. Joe Contini and Rick Seiling of the Hamilton Fincups had six points apiece in a game against New Westminster Bruins on May 13, 1976. Blaisdell finished with three goals and three assists, while Flockhart tallied twice and assisted on four goals. Pats led 2-0 after the opening frame and increased their lead 7-1 going into the third period.
Friday, May 9, with only one minute and 20 seconds left in the game, many of the Agridome fans let loose their frustration. At one point it was obvious that Cornwall was going to win as Peterborough held back. Royals went on to take the game 5-4 and the Pat 5,823 fans displayed their feelings as some chanted "Petes go home." The fans were upset over Peterborough letting Cornwall win just so they would not have to play the Regina Pats in the final. The Petes finally layed down and died in the final period. Soft drinks, programs and even a bottle were hurled at the Peterborough players. After a delay of fifteen minutes, and the appearance of Regina's finest, the game continued with the fans booing. Petes entered the contest with three wins and a 14 game winning streak in the post-season.
Sunday, May 11, Robert Savard's goal at 1:28 of overtime gave Cornwall the Memorial Cup.
Front Row: Darren Wilcox, Peter Kreutz (Trainer), Darren Veitch, Bryan Murray (Coach), Doug Wickenheiser, Bob Strumm (General Manager), Ron Flockhart, Jim Loria (Office Manager), Bart Hunter Second Row: Roy Vandal (Marketing Manager), Jock Callander, Kevin Burns, Mike Blaisdell, Wade Dawson, Jeff Marshall, Brent Pascal, Barry Ziegler, Darren Galley, Bud Langstrom Third Row: Barry Trotz, Bill Ansell, Mike Rainville, Glen Sorenson, John McMillan, Darren Bobyck, Brian Varga (Photo: Darren Bobyck - Collection)