REGINA — British Columbia hockey fans are turning out in droves to see Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats.
The squad is currently on a seven-game road swing that includes visiting Canada’s westernmost province for the first time in the Western Hockey League career of North Vancouver’s Bedard.
Early in the trip, the Regina team has not given opposing fans much to cheer about by starting the trip 2-0. With Drew Sim in net, the Pats shut out the Vancouver Giants, 3-0, last Friday night. They beat the Victoria Royals, 9-5, on Saturday. On a two-game winning streak, the Pats improved their record to 11-1-1.
Both of the weekend contests were sold out. The attendance at the Giants’ home rink in Langley was reported at 5,276, while 7,006 came out to the contest in B.C.’s capital city. The Pats play in Kelowna on Tuesday. The Rockets confirmed last week that contest was already sold out.
The Regina squad is to play on Wednesday in Kamloops and Friday in Prince George. They wrap up the road swing with a game in Edmonton on Sunday and a contest against Prince Albert on Dec. 9. The Pats are finally back home on Dec. 10 to host the Calgary Hitmen.
During Bedard’s 15-year-old season – when he was the first player of that age to be in the league – the Pats competed in a “bubble”-like setting in Regina due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last season there was no inter-conference play. The way the WHL schedule traditionally works, the next time the Regina squad is set to visit B.C. is in 2024-2025. Tabbed by most to be the top overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, Bedard will likely be playing professionally when the Pats head west again.
As of Sunday, Bedard led the WHL in points (53), goals (22), assists (31), and powerplay assists (15) in 24 games. Since the Pats’ opening game, Bedard has recorded at least a point on every contest for a 23-game streak.
Regina Roster Moves
The Regina squad made some tweaks to its roster last week. The Pats acquired 20-year-old forward Riley Ginnell from the Moose Jaw Warriors. They sent a 2026 fifth-round draft pick the other way.
It has been a season for change for Ginnell. After spending his first three WHL seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings, the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder played for the that club (two games) and the Warriors (three points in 14 games) before being swapped to Regina.
He is the third generation of his family to play in the WHL. His father, Erin, played in the league for the Pats, Swift Current Broncos, New Westminster Bruins, Calgary Wranglers and Seattle Thunderbirds in 1985 to 1987. Ginnell’s grandfather, the late Patty Ginnell, helped the Flin Flon Bombers win the 1957 Memorial Cup before going onto a successful coaching career in the league.
The Pats released 20-year-old forward Jakob Brook. The Roblin, Man. product is now playing for the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Brook had three assists in seven games with the Pats this season. Brook was a WHL rookie with the Prince Albert Raiders in
2018-2019. Partway through the next season he was dealt to Regina. Brook had four goals and 12 points in 49 games last season.
Regina Road Trip
Sim turned away all 47 shots he faced to backstop the Pats to a 3-0 victory over the Giants on Friday. It was his second shutout of the season. Borya Valis, Tanner Howe, and Sam Oremba scored for Regina. Jesper Vikman made 32 saves for Vancouver.
The goal judges were kept busy in Victoria on Saturday with 14 goals scored in the Pats’ 9-5 victory. Howe lit the lamp four times and recorded two assists. Bedard had a hattrick and an assist. Stanislav Svozil and Ginnell also scored for Regina. Matthew Kieper played the first two periods in net for the Pats. He stopped 16 of the 21 shots sent his way. Sims stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period.
After Howe’s first goal put Regina on top 1-0 in the first period. The Royals responded with two goals. Then the Pats scored six straight before the Royals got three in a row. In the third, Howe’s fourth of the night and Ginnell’s empty net marker capped the scoring. Regina led 4-2 and 7-5 at the intermissions.
The Royals were four-for-five on the power play. Regina was one-for-four. Bedard scored shorthanded for the Pats.
Scoring for the Royals were Bryaden Schuurman (two), Kalem Parker, Marcus Almquist, and Jake Poole. Logan Cunningham stopped 19 shots for Victoria.