The oldest junior franchise in the world will soon have new owners, contingent upon approval from the Western Hockey League’s board of governors.
Anthony Marquart, the president of Regina-based Royalty Developments — a real estate, investment and management firm — and Queen City Sports and Entertainment, has bought the Regina Pats from long-time owner Russ Parker.
The Regina Leader-Post reported Wednesday that the purchase price is in the vicinity of $7.5 million, about three times the amount Parker paid for the club in 1995.
The deal has yet to be rubber-stamped by the league’s board of governors, who will vote on the conditional sales of both the Pats and the Prince George Cougars April 30 in Calgary. The sales of both teams will go through if two-thirds of the 22-member board vote in approval.
Marquart couldn’t hide his excitement during an interview with the Leader-Post Wednesday.
“I’m like a kid in a candy store,” he insisted. “We’re proud. We love Regina and we love the Pats, and that is without question.”
Marquart’s group, according to the Leader-Post, also includes former Pats goaltender Todd Lumbard, and possibly two more local businessmen and former Pats captain Mike Sillinger.
Meanwhile, Rick Brodsky, the Cougars’ owner since 1994, intends to sell the team to a group of Prince George businessmen and former WHL players headed by Greg Pocock.
The Prince George Citizen has reported NHL defencemen and Cougar alumni Dan Hamhuis and Eric Brewer are part of the new ownership group which bought the team for almost $7 million.
• Nicolas Petan, the Portland Winterhawks’ little big man, turned in a hat-trick performance Wednesday night to lift his club to a 5-1 win over the visiting Kelowna Rockets and a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference final.
The five-foot-nine centre completed his three-goal outing with the aid of good fortune, his pass attempt — following a nifty toe-drag move — deflecting off a Kelowna skate and past Rockets netminder Jordon Cooke. The vast majority of the 9,744 fans at the Mode Center stood and roared their approval.
“I kind of lost (the puck) and I put it through my legs. I tried to pass it over,” Petan told Molly Blue of the Oregonian. “But it went in, so I’ll take it. It just happens in the moment.”
Petan’s highlight-reel marker helped the ‘Hawks post their third straight victory in the series. The clubs splits Games 1 and 2 in Kelowna, then Cooke faced a total of 97 shots in the two contests in Portland.
The Rockets will attempt to keep their season alive when they host Game 5 tonight. To do so, they’ll have to steer clear of the penalty box.
Kelowna opened the scoring Wednesday, then watched as the hosts responded with three power-play goals — all by Petan, which tied a franchise playoff record set by Dave McLay on March 28, 1986 against Spokane — and a short-handed tally by Oliver Bjorkstrand.
“It was the start we wanted,” Rockets captain Madison Bowey told Doyle Potenteau of the Kelowna Daily Courier. “We had that (1-0 lead), but in the second period we kind of got away from our game. We took some dumb penalties, myself included, and that really cost us the game.”
Added Rockets head coach Ryan Huska: “We had a good first period. Five on five, we played well tonight. We just weren’t able to kill and they score a short-handed goal at a poor time. And that’s the difference in the game.
“There’s a fine line between having controlled emotion and going over it. There’s times tonight when we went over it. But five-on-five, we were much improved tonight and we did a better job in that area. Now we have to look at things as a one-game-at-a-time situation. We have to make sure we’re ready for Friday night.”
• The Edmonton Oil Kings also moved to within one win of the WHL championship series with a 4-1 victory over the host Medicine Hat Tigers Wednesday.
The Oil Kings got a second-period goal from defenceman Griffin Reinhart en route to grabbing a 4-0 lead and eventually taking a 3-1 grip in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final.
The Oil Kings will be seeking a third consecutive appearance in the WHL final when they tangle with the Tigers Saturday at Edmonton’s Rexall Place.
“It would be huge not just to get the series over with, but to save you some travel time and getting more rest,” Reinhart told Darren Steinke of the Medicine Hat News. “The last game is always the hardest one to close out, so we have to come out strong and play our best game of the series.”
The Tigers lost veteran centre Trevor Cox to a leg injury in the second period. The absence of Cox, who had 82 points during the regular season and has accumulated 23 (8-15) in 17 playoff games this spring, would leave a gaping hole in the Tigers lineup Saturday.
Regardless of his teammate’s availability for the next game, Tigers captain Curtis Valk won’t throw in the towel.
“I think the guys still have a lot of pride left in them,” said Valk. “Nobody is ready to go home yet, so we are going to do whatever we can in Game 5 to get the win there.”
• Brandon and Saskatoon will host Subway Super Series games in October.
The six-game Super Series, featuring two games for each of the Canadian Hockey League’s three member leagues, is used by Canada and Russia to help pick their teams for the world junior championship.
Team Russia will face a WHL all-star squad Oct. 10 in Saskatoon and the following day in Brandon.