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Vets ready to take on bigger role with Regina Pats

Host Regina Pats forward Nick Henry (21) celebrates his goal over the Swift Current Broncos with his teammates during first period Memorial Cup action in Regina on Wednesday, May, 23, 2018. .
Host Regina Pats forward Nick Henry (21) celebrates his goal over the Swift Current Broncos with his teammates during first period Memorial Cup action in Regina on Wednesday, May, 23, 2018. . Jonathan hayward / The Canadian Press

The Regina Pats will lean on the older players to lead the way this season, following a massive overhaul of last year’s roster.

With former Pats captain Sam Steel – along with forwards Cameron Hebig and Matt Bradley – set to play pro this year, the Pats will have to rely on players like Nick Henry and Jake Leschyshyn to fill the void.

“We’re going to have to teach the young guys how to play here in Regina. It’s going to be an exciting task for us,” Henry said.

“The torch has been passed down to us this year and we need to show these guys the way.”

READ MORE: New coach, same philosophy as Pats rookie camp wraps up

Having shared similar experiences as a rookie, Henry said it’s important for players to be themselves and focus on what has made them successful in the past.

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“All you got to do is be super competitive and show coaches and scouts who you are as a player,” Henry said.

“Don’t try to do anything that you can’t, just work hard and good things will happen.”

READ MORE: Pats acquire goaltender Carter Woodside from Kootenay ICE

So far, they’ve done just that, in both the rookie and main camp.

“Competitive. That’s the best way to describe it,” Regina Pats head coach Dave Struch said.

“Every day we talk to the kids about getting better throughout the day so the next day they can come in and have something to build on.”

As for the team’s leadership group, Struch said he’s been impressed with their level of commitment.

“They’re obviously all a year older, (they are) more mature and their leadership on the ice – to this point – has been exceptional,” Struch said.

“The way they carry themselves around the rink with us, with the scouts (and) the young guys, it’s all been a good visual for us.”

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It may be a different looking team this year, but Struch said the style of play will remain the same.

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“It’s going to be a very hard-working and (we hope) responsible team,” Struch said.

The Pats kick off the pre-season against the Swift Current Broncos at the Brandt Centre on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.