View Full Version : Sauter has ties to the Pats

06-06-2006, 01:26 AM
from reginapats.com via The LeaderPost

Sauter has ties to the Pats

Greg Harder, The Leader-Post
Published: Monday, June 05, 2006

Regina Pats prospect Kent Sauter isn't your typical American hockey player.

He has the pedigree to prove it.

"I've been brought up by my dad to play old-time hockey," offered Sauter, whose father Doug is a former Pats head coach and the long-time bench boss of the Central Hockey League's Oklahoma City Blazers.

"My style doesn't really fit with the kind of guys who play down there; I'm a little rougher. That's why I want to play in the Western League."

Like father, like son.

Doug Sauter, a native of Fairlight, was a goalie in the old Western League with the Estevan Bruins, New Westminster Bruins and Calgary Centennials before trying his hand at coaching.

He spent 11 years as a WHL head coach in Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina and Brandon before jumping to the pro ranks, starting with a four-year stint in the East Coast League. He has been in Oklahoma City since 1995-96, taking his place as the Central League's all-time winningest head coach.

Sauter also found time to raise a family. His household includes hockey-playing sons Fritz, a former SJHL defenceman, and Kent, who scored more than a point per game last season with the Oklahoma City Blazers midget AA team.

For Kent, being the son of a coaching legend has its ups and downs.

"It's a little bit of both," noted the 17-year-old left winger. "I kind of get a step up on guys; I'll get more icetime and a little more exposure. But the bar is always set a little higher in everything and the expectations are a lot greater."

The Sauter clan returns to Saskatchewan each summer, spending their offseasons at nearby Lake Kenosee. The location of the family cottage is convenient for Kent, who was added to the Pats' protected list last season and was invited to Regina on the weekend to take part in the team's annual fitness camp.

"It's kind of funny," noted Pats director of scouting Todd Ripplinger. "When we introduced all the players, he stood up and said, 'My name is Kent Sauter; my dad used to coach the Pats ... 20 years ago!' It seems like yesterday that I was watching the big hairy-faced coach. I asked him about his dad's mustache (which is Sauter's trademark). He said he still has the big 'stache, but it's getting whiter."

The Sauter family has deep roots in the province.

The head coach/GM of the SJHL's Bruins is Hardy Sauter, a former WHL rearguard who spent the better part of a decade in Oklahoma working under Doug -- his uncle -- as a coach and player. Hardy is regarded as the best defenceman in Central League history.

The family ties also include a long-time friendship with Brad Hornung, a former NHL scout who was paralyzed from the neck down while playing for the Pats in the 1986-87 season. Doug Sauter coached Hornung during his two-year stint in Regina, from '86-87 to '87-88.

Now his son is hoping to make the move.

"(Doug) was just as excited as I was when I found out the Pats listed me," noted Kent. "To be able to put on a Pats jersey is kind of a big deal. I'm thrilled with the opportunity to be here and show the organization what I can do and what I can hopefully do in the future."

Sauter was originally selected by the Red Deer Rebels in the 11th round of the 2004 WHL bantam draft. He was also the property of the Prince George Cougars for a brief time but, until now, he hadn't been presented with the right opportunity to return to Canada on a full-time basis.

"We saw him in the (Western) Prospects camp here when he was 14," added Ripplinger. "He was a hard-working kid -- gritty. We heard through the grapevine that he was getting better and better and he's a tough kid. We need some guys like that and he might be able to fit the mould. We know there's bloodlines and we know the family's interest in the WHL so there wasn't a big issue with him playing in our league. By all accounts he wants to be here really bad."