Thunderous applause, shouts and screams met the Pats as the time ran out on their Tuesday night game in Regina.
For the first time since the 1973-74 season, the Pats have won the Scotty Munro Trophy, clinching first place in the WHL with 49 wins and 106 points. The team had another three games to do it but was able to seal the deal against their division rival Saskatoon Blades.
The final score was 5-4.
It was far from a sold out crowd at the Brandt Centre, but for the diehard fans that have been watching the Pats for decades, it was a very memorable night.
Bill Weppler has been watching the team since the late 1970s and said this team has made it fun for him to come to the rink again.
“What would be even bigger is to win the east (conference), and to go on and play in the league championship,” he said Tuesday night.
“This’s got to be the most amazing season I’ve seen yet,” Dave Miller chimed in. “Just the way the team came together, even after all the trades. They still gelled after a while and they got everything done.”
It’s true the Pats had a very busy December and January, bringing in Wyatt Sloboshan, Dawson Davidson, Josh Mahura and Jeff de Wit.
Some worried that it would break up the team’s chemistry, but with the exception of a few blips and a four-game losing skid the team has continued to be strong.
Now that the Pats have won the league, both the players and the fans are looking forward to the next steps: the playoffs and, hopefully, the Memorial Cup.
For Marc Clermont, who travels two hours to Regina from Lafleche to see the team play and has been since the 1980s, a long playoff run that ends at the Memorial Cup isn’t too lofty a goal.
“Nothing’s guaranteed but I’ll tell you what if they play like they’ve played the last two-three games at home here (it) shouldn’t be a problem.”
The Pats have two more home games and one away game left in the regular season before the playoffs begin the weekend of March 24.
— With files from Warren Woods