Sidaway zooms into Pats’ lineup
Tanner Sidaway’s speed impressed the Regina Pats before he even stepped on the ice.
After his mid-week acquisition from the Kootenay Ice, Sidaway wasted no time jumping in his vehicle and making the nine-hour trek to Regina. The 18-year-old forward arrived at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday — just in time to dress against the Saskatoon Blades.
“I was speeding a little bit,” he admitted with a smile. “I was just excited to play. I thought it was a fantastic opportunity so I packed everything up, said my goodbyes and hit the road.”
Sidaway’s early arrival was a surprise to head coach/GM John Paddock, who completed the deal late Tuesday afternoon. Regina sent veteran forward Jeff de Wit to the Ice for Sidaway and a seventh-round bantam pick in 2018.
“I didn’t really expect him to play,” said Paddock. “I thought he was going to get here at five or six o’clock. He obviously wanted to get here and play.”
Fuelled by adrenalin, Sidaway relied mostly on instinct in his Pats’ debut. He was also eager to prove he belongs with the 2018 Memorial Cup hosts.
“It’s surreal to be in this position right now,” he said after Wednesday’s game — a 6-4 loss to the Blades. “It was pretty nerve-racking but I also had a lot of energy. I’m not used to all the fans and everything so I had a lot of things to look forward to. It was really nice to just get right on the ice and not have a wait.
“It was a tough loss but I feel like this is where I belong. Once I learn all the plays and we start getting more time in, I think we’re going to be a really good team.”
Sidaway is known as a hard worker and a strong skater who should add a physical element to the bottom portion of Regina’s lineup.
It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it.
“I’ll be that energy guy to go out there and fight or score a greasy goal or something like that to get everyone going,” said the 6-foot0, 181-pounder, who had one goal and one assist in five games with Kootenay this season. “You can’t have a whole team full of goal scorers. You need different pieces so everything fits together properly. That’s a winning team.”
Paddock felt the Pats needed a player like Sidaway, who has the ability to cause havoc on the forecheck.
“We don’t believe we’re fast enough at this point,” said Paddock. “He brings that to the game — good speed, finishing some checks.”
Sidaway fills a hole left by de Wit, who’s not the fastest skater but had the size and skill to play a power-forward role. The former first-round bantam pick showed flashes after he was acquired from Red Deer last season but never quite found his stride.
“Jeff is a good guy,” said Paddock. “I think he wants (to do) the right things. There were just inconsistencies — highs and lows to his game. He would go from scoring a big goal and moving up in the lineup to me not playing him after a period. It just wasn’t steady play. That’s what we needed from a 19-year-old player.”
NOTE: The Pats have partnered with the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame to display pieces from their archival collection. An exhibit has also been set up in the north corridor of the Brandt Centre featuring 10 segments of the club’s 100-year history.
Tanner Sidaway made his debut with the Regina Pats on Wednesday against the Saskatoon Blades. His early arrival was a surprise to head coach/GM John Paddock.