It was something Evan Patrick never saw coming.
After being an affiliate player last season, and filling in admirably during the playoffs, Patrick felt he was all but guaranteed a spot with the Prince Albert Mintos this year.
The 17-year-old forward made it through camp and played in seven exhibition games with the Mintos, but when the final cuts were made a week ago, Patrick was without a place to play.
‚ÄúIt was tough,‚ÄĚ admitted Patrick moments after his new team, the Swift Current Legionnaires, battled the Mintos to a 1-1 draw in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League opener for both teams on Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre. ‚ÄúIn the back of your head you think you are going to make it and then you don‚Äôt.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWith them (Mintos) hosting regionals next year I guess they felt they had to have a little bit of a regroup,‚ÄĚ added Patrick.
Rookie Minto head coach Ken Morrison says it was a tough decision to let Patrick go, but it was a move he felt had to be made.
‚ÄúHe didn‚Äôt beat out our other 17-year-olds,‚ÄĚ said Morrison. ‚ÄúI told him all along he is a good player and that he should be playing in this league.‚ÄĚ
To say the past week has been hectic for Patrick is an understatement.
After getting the news from the Mintos, Patrick got in contact with the scouts of the Flin Flon Bombers, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League club that hold his playing rights. They, along with Patrick‚Äôs parents, made some calls and it was decided that Swift Current would be a good fit for the speedy forward.
‚ÄúThey are a good strict team and we felt it was a good place to go and focus on hockey,‚ÄĚ said Patrick.
Less than 48 hours after being let go by the Mintos, Patrick was heading to southwestern Saskatchewan and with just three practises under his belt, he returned home to take on his former team.
‚ÄúThere was a lot of pressure playing against your friends,‚ÄĚ noted Patrick, who was held off the scoresheet Saturday but did collect an assist in Swift Current‚Äôs 4-3 win in Beardy‚Äôs on Sunday.
Once a place to play was found, then Patrick had to get settled into school for his Grade 12 studies and also locate a place to stay. A former interest in moto-cross paved the way for the latter as he is now staying with a family that was also involved in the sport in the past.
It won‚Äôt be until early January when Patrick gets to return to the Art Hauser Centre, but his performance on Saturday, especially after the wild week of events, certainly shows he is ready for the challenge to play at the Midget AAA level.