After four seasons as head coach of the Regina Pats, Dave Struch has been sacked. John Paddock, the current VP of hockey operations and general manager, will take over as head coach going forward.
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“I’d want to express my gratitude to Dave for his many years of dedication to the Pats organization.” For many seasons, Dave’s enthusiasm and hockey expertise have been valuable assets. In a press release, vice president of hockey operations and general manager John Paddock noted, “He is well-respected in the hockey world and inside our organization.”
“This was a difficult choice to make, but it is one that must be made in order to get the team to where we need to go.”
Struch led the Pats to a 55-101-15 record in 171 games as their head coach from 2018 to 21.
The COVID-19 epidemic curtailed both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
Struch also served as an assistant coach for the Patriots from 2014 to 2017. After the Pats hosted the Memorial Cup in 2018, he took over as head coach the following season.
“He was in a difficult situation.” Because we were hosting, we had to swap. Other clubs may have traded just as much or more, but we, Swift Current, and Moose Jaw, are clearly still paying the price,” Paddock said. “We rebuilt the cupboard as best we could after it was stripped bare.”
From 2014 through 2018, John Paddock coached the Patriots for four seasons. He left the position in 2018 to become the team’s vice president of hockey operations and general manager.
“I believe it’s a combination of familiarity with the organization, the guys we have here, and the ones we aspire to bring in,” Paddock said. “I’ll claim I’m looking forward to it since it’s the best part of a horrible day.”
At 288 games as the head coach in Regina, Paddock has a 165-89-34 record.
Dave Struch, the head coach of the Regina Pats, was dismissed on Thursday. General manager John Paddock will take his position.
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During a Zoom call with reporters, Pats general manager and vice-president of hockey operations John Paddock, who will take over behind the bench for the remainder of this season and the entire 2022-23 season, said, “This was a very difficult day, for sure, but it just seemed like it was a time that there needed to be something tweaked.”
The decision occurred only five days after the Pats’ record fell to 6-10-0-0 after a 6-1 home loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, another struggling team.
“Not much to say,” Struch, 50, told the Regina Leader-Post via text message. “This is what I signed up for as a coach.”
“I’m sorry for my family’s loss. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to assist the squad in gaining more victories. Expectations for this group of young men to be at the top of the conference are great, and I was unable to meet them.”
Brad Herauf and Ken Schneider, both of whom have been retained as assistant coaches, will join Paddock on the bench.
Struch texted, “I’m certain that with John, Brad, and Ken, they will bring (the Pats) back to where they should be this season.”
“I appreciate all the organization has done for my family and me over the last seven years.”
The Patriots’ season has been a rollercoaster, as they started with back-to-back triumphs before losing seven games in a row. After a four-game winning streak, the team has lost three straight games. A rash of injuries, particularly in the front row, hasn’t helped matters.
“On Thursday morning, I told the players, ‘There are no poor coaches who are dismissed because bad coaches aren’t hired.’ “There simply comes a moment when someone feels like we need to do something,’ and in that instance it was me,” Paddock said of his team’s first of six away games against the Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday.
“I’m not sure what our record will be in the following six games.” I know what I’m hoping for. But you can’t just sit there and do nothing.
“It’s not Dave’s fault at all. He’s a dedicated individual. He has a tattoo of the Regina Pats (logo) on his body. It’s simply a game.”
Struch took over as head coach from Paddock less than a month after Regina hosted the 2018 Memorial Cup. Struch had been the Pats’ assistant coach for the previous four seasons, working with Paddock.
Struch, who was in the penultimate year of his contract, inherited a club that had to rebuild after moving several young players and high-priced draft selections to enhance the squad for back-to-back championship campaigns.
As the Pats’ bench coach, he had a 55-101-9-6 record and a.365 winning percentage.
As the Pats’ head coach, Paddock had a 165-89-21-13 (.632) record. In 2015 and 2017, he was named WHL Coach of the Year.
He led the squad to a franchise-record 52 victories and the best record in the East Division during the 2016-17 season. The Pats went on to represent the East in the league championship, but were defeated in six games by the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Paddock made it clear that he made the choice to replace coaches, not owner-governor Shaun Semple.
Paddock added, “I’m in control of the hockey department.”
In that role, he believed that returning to the bench was a simple decision that would be supported by his credentials.
Paddock, 67, a former NHL head coach with the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators, said, “I think I’m a fairly decent coach, so that would be the first reason.”
“Secondly, we’ve been trying to put together a squad, especially under Connor (Bedard, the Pats’ 16-year-old star).” That’s exactly what Shaun stated. That’s what Shaun desires, aspires for, and believes in, and it’s also what I desire.
“In any sport, all coaches are temporary. You might have stated ‘interim,’ which may refer to a period of one to five years. “It’s only business.”
The Regina Pats have a new head coach in Dave Struch.
The WHL team confirmed Thursday that John Paddock would step away from the bench to focus fully on his GM duties, as previously reported by the Regina Leader-Post. After working as Paddock’s top assistant for the previous four seasons, Struch will be promoted to head coach.
Paddock, who recently turned 64, added, “He deserves to be a head coach.” “He’s a head coach,” says the narrator. He’s a force to be reckoned with. Because of where the team is at, as well as our connection and ability to work together, (it’s the correct step). (Doing it now) is only plain sense.”
Paddock and Struch were the Pats’ first big additions after the team’s new owners, Queen City Sports and Entertainment Group, took over in 2014.
Struch was a contender for Regina’s head-coaching post before it was awarded to Paddock, who later returned the favor by recruiting his rival. They clicked right away and worked together to lead the squad to a 165-89-21-13 record in four seasons.
After Year 1, Struch added the title of deputy general manager to his coaching duties, confirming his place as Paddock’s right-hand man. Struch will continue to serve as assistant general manager in addition to his current role as head coach.
During a press conference at the Pats’ office on Thursday, Struch added, “It’s amazing to be a part of.” “Until today, I had no idea how thrilling a day it was. When I go back four years to my interview for the head coach position with the ownership group, the type of people they are, you truly want to be a head coach at that time. It wasn’t in the cards for me to come on as an assistant when I didn’t get the position and John did, but I’m so glad I did.”
Under the current management, the Patriots have yet to lose a game. They’ve also gone 29-22 in the WHL playoffs, coming up just two wins short of a title last year as Regina fell to the Seattle Thunderbirds in six games in the WHL final.
It was a sad finale to a historic season in which the club set multiple franchise records en way to earning the regular-season championship (52-12-7-1).
The Patriots had another chance to win a title this season when they hosted the 2018 Memorial Cup. Regina rebounded from a first-round playoff setback to the eventual WHL champion Swift Current Broncos by winning the CHL title.
Regina advanced to the final after eliminating Swift Current out of the competition, but fell 3-0 to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, falling short of their first Memorial Cup win since 1974.
That defeat also served as a send-off for Paddock, who is stepping down in favor of his long-time aide.
Struch has previous head coaching experience with the Saskatoon Blades, who sacked him after only one season in charge of a team in the midst of a massive reconstruction.
Struch found his feet immediately with Regina, signing a four-year contract in the summer of 2014. He immediately established himself as a possible successor to Paddock, who had expected to reduce his responsibilities when the team’s championship window closed at the end of the 2017-18 season.
“This has essentially been the thought process over the past three years,” Paddock added. “We were fortunate enough to see that concept through to completion. We envisioned it as a sort of natural evolution. We’ve arrived. It’s just as we imagined it would be.”
Paddock was twice elected WHL coach of the year (2015 and 2017) during his four seasons with the Pats, and he also got the league’s best executive award in 2017. This is especially important given since he’s the lone person in charge of assisting Struch through what is likely to be a challenging rebuilding process.
In January, both men, as well as assistant coach Brad Herauf, signed four-year contract extensions. Struch’s top assistant, Herauf, will stay on, but the squad isn’t anticipated to hire a third full-time coach.
Herauf is widely considered inside the organization as a potential successor to Stuch as head coach, especially considering Stuch’s long-term ambitions to join the professional ranks.