Both Leader-Post sports editor Rob Vanstone and CKRM sports director Rob Pedersen have their views on why Reginans have lost faith with the Pats. Getting blown out at home twice in the first two games of their first playoff round since Ron Lancaster was knee-high to a grasshopper would do that. And as both mentioned, the Pats’ marketing and promotions department seems to have operated at a level of competence of a Stephen Harper appointee.
But there’s a larger force at play. Granted, the Parkers’ operation of the Pats hasn’t always been the best. They’ve picked a lot of fights with the Exhibition Association (now the Evraz Place board) over parking fees, and Brent Parker’s ego got in the way many times in his dealing with the team, the city and the Western Hockey League. The Pats, in previous years, should have traded Jordan Weal and Jordan Eberle while they had the chance, to build for the future through the drafts and younger prospects.
But the Regina Pats aren’t entirely the author of their own misfortunes. Nineteen years ago, when the Pats were last sold to the Parkers, nobody, at least in Regina, wanted or could afford them. The local owners had run out of money, ideas and respect. Maybe it’s because after 19 years the Parkers seemed to have brought the Pats down so low that any direction looks like up, but general manager Chad Lang and head coach Malcolm Cameron have produced a team that is capable of playing exciting and fluid hockey, as opposed to the type of hockey littering most arenas in North America (swear to God, if a team coached by a Sutter was awarded a penalty shot, the coach would tell the player to dump and chase or face sitting on the bench until his ass got slivers.)
But Regina is a very strange place to do business. The city’s business community is as insular and incestuous as a mountain society deep in West Virginia’s hollers. Business is done in Saskatchewan in general, and in Regina in particular, on a basis of who you know, not what you know or what businesses can do for each other.
And the fact that the Parkers are from Calgary sticks in the craw of Regina’s business community. Coming from outside of Regina is an unforgivable sin in Regina’s business community, and that’s why the Pats will always be the on the outside of Regina’s business community as long as its owned by Calgarians or Edmontonians, or people with more money and/or hockey sense than Reginans apparently possess.