View Full Version : Pats hoping to retain Hunt

06-01-2006, 09:25 AM
From reginapats.com via The LeaderPost

Pats hoping to retain Hunt

Greg Harder, The Leader-Post
Published: Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Regina Pats plan to keep a winning team together.

The Leader-Post has learned the WHL club is close to re-signing each member of its hockey operations staff to new long-term contracts that would keep them in Regina through the 2008-09 campaign.

Head coach Curtis Hunt, assistant coach Terry Perkins, director of scouting Todd Ripplinger and athletic therapist/trainer Greg Mayer are each entering the final year of their respective pacts.

Under terms of a proposed new deal, the final year of those contracts would be voided in favour of fresh three-year agreements.

The deals could be made official as early as next week.

Pats GM Brent Parker confirmed Wednesday that negotiations have taken place, but he wouldn't say if an announcement on the contract extensions was imminent.

"We have had some initial discussions with all four members of our hockey department regarding their contracts," said Parker, who declined to elaborate. "We certainly would like to maintain this group going forward. At some point in time we'd like to secure all four of them on long-term deals."

Parker has publicly expressed a strong desire to maintain continuity within Regina's hockey operations staff, which helped engineer the biggest turnaround in franchise history last season.

Despite having one of the WHL's youngest rosters, the Pats improved by 28 wins in 2005-06, going from 12 victories -- worst in the WHL -- to 40 in '05-06.

The key to the on-ice product is Hunt.

The Regina native, who's widely regarded as one of the WHL's brightest young coaches, was recently named an assistant with the national squad that will represent Canada at this year's world junior championship. He also had two previous stints with the national under-18 program, winning a gold and a silver medal.

Hunt was hired away from the rival Moose Jaw Warriors in the summer of 2004 after being named the Eastern Conference coach-of-the-year.

Perkins joined the Pats last season as Hunt's full-time assistant after serving previously as the head coach/GM of the BCHL's Powell River Kings. Perkins is slated to become Regina's interim bench boss for most of December while Hunt is away at the world juniors.

Ripplinger has been the Pats' head scout for the past eight years. He and Parker are credited with replenishing Regina's 50-player protected list after some lean years following the team's run at the 2001 Memorial Cup.

Two of Ripplinger's more recent draft picks are sophomore defencemen Logan Pyett and Craig Schira, both of whom played for Canada at this year's world under-18 championship.

Mayer worked under Hunt in Moose Jaw before joining his boss in defecting to the Pats in 2004-05. He has helped Regina earn a reputation as one of the most well-conditioned squads in the WHL.

As a group, Hunt, Perkins, Ripplinger and Mayer -- joined by Parker -- formed the braintrust of the most-improved team in the league.