It is a pretty big task trying to compile a best-of or top-five list, especially when there can be so many options. When a person digs into the history of the Pats (WHL version 1966-to-present), there are so many worthy players that can fit into the top five forwards in history. After posing this question on social media, many responses echoed similar names — maybe not in the same order, but most of the names were there.
The top five Pats forward list includes the only three players that have surpassed the 400-point plateau. All five players have had their numbers retired by the club and all would be considered legends in the Pats community.
Without further ado, here are the top five forwards in Regina Pats history.
Mike Sillinger (1987-91)
Coming in at number five is Mike Sillinger. When Sillinger joined the Pats, he played alongside fellow Regina products Jamie Heward and Frank Kovacs to form the “Pup Line.” In his rookie season, he put up a decent 43-point campaign. In his next three seasons, he topped the 100-point mark and led the Pats in scoring. The Detroit Red Wings came calling and drafted him 11th overall in 1989. He later won a gold medal in the 1991 World Junior Hockey Championship. During his time with the Pats, the club never had much playoff success, only making the second round twice in four seasons.
Sillinger’s NHL career spanned 18 seasons during which he played for twelve teams (NHL record) and was traded 9 times (tied for the record). In 1049 NHL games played, he collected 548 points (240G, 308A). He suited up for the Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, and New York Islanders.
The Pats retired his number 16 in January of 2011.
Statistically Speaking: In 266 regular season games with the Pats, Sillinger collected 178 goals (third all-time), 241 assists (fourth all-time), and 419 points (second all-time). Despite only playing in 23 playoff games he collected 41 points (20G, 21A).
Jock Callander (1978-82)
In fourth place we find Jock Callander, a one-time WHL champion (1979-80) and one-time finalist (1981-82). He led the WHL in scoring in 1981-82 with 190 points as the Pats made a run to the WHL Final, losing to Portland. During that season, Callander had a 47-game point streak in which he collected 141 points.
Although never drafted, Callander managed to have a decent professional career which included 109 NHL games (Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning). After playing the 1991-92 season for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League, he was called up to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That season, he became a Stanley Cup Champion. During his professional career, he became the second all-time leading scorer in the IHL with 1,242 points.
The Pats retired his number 15 in February of 2018.
Statistically Speaking: In 1981-82, Callander set the Pats record for points in a season with 190. That season he scored 79 goals which was the fourth-most in a season. He and Dave Michayluk each put up 111 assists — also a single-season Pats record. His 368 points (158G, 210A) place him sixth all-time in club history. His 69 playoff points place him 10th all-time in Pats history.
Doug Wickenheiser (1977-80)
Number three on this list is Doug Wickenheiser. The 1979-80 season was one to remember for the Pats as Wickenheiser — the team captain — led the league in scoring and helped guide the Pats to a WHL Championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup. Along with his scoring title, Wickenheiser won the WHL Most Valuable Player and the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year.
The Montreal Canadiens came calling and drafted him first overall in the 1980 NHL Draft. His selection was a very controversial one for the Canadiens as the draft was in Montreal and many were wanting French-Canadian Denis Savard picked instead of Wickenheiser. The expectations were high, and he struggled to meet them. After his four-year tenure with the Canadiens, he made stops with the St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers, and Washington Capitals, playing in 556 games and picking up 276 points (111G, 166A).
Unfortunately, Wickenheiser died January 12, 1999, after a battle with cancer. The Pats retired his number 12 in March of 1999.
Statistically Speaking: Wickenheiser’s 89 goals in 1979-80 stands as the most goals scored by a Pat in a single season and the 170 points he had are fourth all-time. His career numbers place him in the top ten in the three main statistical categories — seventh in goals with 158, tenth in assists with 194, and tied for seventh with 352 points.
Dennis Sobchuk (1971-74)
Dennis Sobchuk is number two on our list. He is the Pats’ first ever 400-point player, leading the Pats in scoring all three seasons he played in Regina. He won the WCHL Rookie of the Year award in 1971-72, and in his second year (1972-73), he won the league’s Most Valuable Player award. For the 1972-73 and 1973-74 seasons, he was a Pats co-captain. During the summer of 1973, he signed a ten-year contract with the Cincinnati Stingers of the World Hockey Association.
The Pats retired his number 14 shortly after the 1974 Memorial Cup win. Due to his WHA contract, his NHL stock fell, and he wound up being drafted in the fifth round in 1974 by the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sobchuk played in the WHA with the Phoenix Roadrunners, Cincinnati Stingers, and Edmonton Oilers, compiling 331 points (145G, 186A) in 348 games. He also got into 35 NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings and Quebec Nordiques, collecting 11 points (5G. 6A)
Statistically Speaking: Sobchuk is third all-time in Pats regular season scoring with 416 points in just 200 games played. His 191 goals place him second all-time and his 225 assists place him fifth all-time in regular season scoring. He is second in Pats (WHL) playoff scoring with 75 points (26G, 49A), which puts him in a tie for seventh all-time.
Dale Derkatch (1981-85)
Coming in at number one is the diminutive dynamo, Regina Pats legend Dale Derkatch. In 1981-82, he collected 142 points (62G, 80A) on his way to the WHL rookie of the year award. The next season he led the WHL in scoring with 179 points (84G, 95A). He played for Team Canada at the 1983 and 1984 World Juniors, winning a bronze in 1984. He holds a WHL record to this day as the only player to have three consecutive 60-plus goal seasons.
In the 1984 playoffs, Derkatch accumulated 53 points, which is a WHL record. In the same playoffs, he also collected 41 assists — a team record. His career numbers put him at the top or near the top of every statistical category in Pats history. The Edmonton Oilers drafted him 140th overall in the 1983 NHL draft. Even with his amazing junior career, he never played in an NHL game, but he managed to have a great career playing fourteen seasons overseas.
The Pats retired his number 16 in December of 1998.
Statistically Speaking: Derkatch leads the Pats all-time list in regular-season career goals (222), assists (269), and points (491). His 103 playoff points are fourth all-time and first for the WHL version of the Pats. The 30 playoff goals are 12th all-time (first in WHL version) and 73 assists are first all-time in Pats history.
This list was not taken lightly; a few picks weren’t finalized until the final few edits. It is difficult to leave out so many players. Gillies, Kovacs, Varga, Michayluk, Friesen, Holden, Steel, Iannone, Endean, Brooks, Hall, Blaisdell, Eberle, etc. just to name a few, could easily be on the list. When putting something like this together, there really are no wrong answers.