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Former Saskatoon Blades bring grit to La Ronge Ice Wolves

WATCH ABOVE: Kevin Kaminski and Gaelan Patterson provide a solid one-two punch for the La Ronge Ice Wolves.

They played in two different eras for the Saskatoon Blades, but have now teamed-up to provide a solid one-two punch for a Saskatchewan junior hockey team.

Kevin Kaminski played for the Blades in the late 80s, and 22 years after Kaminski made his debut for the team, Gaelan Patterson did the same.

The two gritty former players now make up the coaching staff for the La Ronge Ice Wolves in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL).

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Kaminski, who is the Ice Wolves head coach and general manager, said he felt the community would be a good fit for him.

“I’m excited to get there and get involved in the community and build the Ice Wolves program back up to where it should be,” Kaminski said.

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Grant Merriman, president of the Ice Wolves, said he is ecstatic to have Kaminski behind the bench.

“His experience in playing and coaching were exactly what we were looking to bring into our organization,” Merriman said.

“We are looking forward to a strong season with all of our returning players under the guidance of a top-level coach like Kevin Kaminski.”

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Patterson is taking on associate coaching duties along with general manager. The La Ronge native spent the 2018-19 season with the Ice Wolves as the assistant coach, and took over as interim head coach for the last four games of the season.

“It’s a path that I kind of set myself up on and something I really want to get into,” Patterson said.

“I’m really passionate about it, so it’s working out pretty well so far.”

Merriman said he is pleased Patterson will be back with the team for another season.

“He has proven his ability to connect with our players and guide them as a coach,” Merriman said

“We believe the chemistry Patty (Patterson) and Killer (Kominski) will bring to the dressing room is going to be outstanding.”

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Kaminski played in 139 games in the NHL, mostly with the Washington Capitals, before starting his coaching career alongside Mike Babcock in the American Hockey League (AHL).

He spent last year coaching in Fresno, Calif., and said he will draw on Patterson’s experience in the league and La Ronge.

“I think we’re going to be a great team, a great tandem and we’re going to feed off each other, that’s the old Blade way,” Kaminski said.

“We look forward to building a championship team to bring back to La Ronge.”

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Patterson was drafted by the Calgary Flames, but never played in the NHL, finishing his career playing in France and England.

He said La Ronge is a great place to play hockey.

“It’s home. In a sense Saskatoon is as well, my mom lives here, but I love it up there,” Patterson said.

“There’s a lot of awesome things to do. There are no distractions, it’s all hockey and we’re looking to build a really good program up there.”

The Ice Wolves finished out of the SJHL playoffs in 2018-19 with a 12-44-1-1 record.

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