His team, the Regina Pats, were set to host the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup 65 days later. After falling out of the playoff race so soon, many expected the Mem Cup to be a bust for the host in the 2018 running.
However, in going with his gut, sticking with his family, and making those highly scrutinized coaching decisions that are so often talked about, the elder Paddock has proved once again, what it means to be a successful hockey coach.
Coach Paddock elected to start netminder, Max Paddock in the tournament’s opening game – a decision that has paid off mightily. After beginning Memorial Cup with a 3-2 victory over the Ontario Hockey League’s champ Hamilton, the Pats – led by Brandonites John and Max Paddock – fell 8-6 in a highly offensive affair with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
But from that point onward, it has been win, win, win for the host team. In turning things around with a 6-5 victory over arch rival Swift Current Broncos – eliminating the WHL champ from the tournament – the Pats carried their momentum forward to the semifinal game in which they added insult to injury for those same Hamilton Bulldogs with a 4-2 victory, sending the host team to the final against the QMJHL champ.
It was in the semifinal that Max Paddock played his best hockey. Stopping 44 of 46 shots, Max made not only his uncle proud, but his teammates, family, the city of Regina, as well as the city of Brandon. Paddock picked up the first star of the game, and hopes to build off of that performance for Sunday’s Memorial Cup Final Sunday night.
“Everybody is just electric right now,” Paddock said. “I mean, we’re all pumped about the win, but I mean we got a redemption shot at Bathurst here – so we’re looking forward to that too, but we’re excited.”
The 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup will come to a close Sunday evening at 6:00 P.M. from the Brandt Centre in Saskatchewan, as the host Regina squares off against Acadie-Bathurst. The game can be viewed live on Sportsnet.