EVERETT —Max Patterson jumped in his car and made the roughly 12-hour drive from Swift Current to his hometown of Kamloops for an overnight stop on Monday and woke up bright and early on Tuesday to make the five-and-a-half hour trek to Everett just in time for the Silvertips’ 1 p.m. practice on Tuesday at Angel of the Winds Arena.
Left behind in the prairie town in Saskatchewan is a litany of fond memories and growth moments. The 18-year-old forward, whom Everett acquired on Monday in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2020 and a prospect, was a key depth player in the Broncos’ 2018 Memorial Cup run.
There is a part of Patterson that is disappointed his tenure in Swift Current came to an end, but with the Broncos suffering the blowback from their all-in approach last season, he’s ecstatic to join a contending team for his penultimate Western Hockey League season.
“It’s a great group of guys in Swift Current, but I’m excited to win here,” Patterson said. “I’m excited for what’s ahead.”
There’s an immediate comfort for Patterson in Everett. There’s his former Bronco teammates, overage defensemen Sahvan Khaira and Artyom Minulin, who the Silvertips traded for early in the season. He also shares a power-skating coach, Aaron Konecsni of Kelowna, with Silvertips players Jake Christiansen, Gianni Fairbrother, Riley Sutter and Bronson Sharp.
“It’s an easy transition here,” Patterson said.
What’s more, another recently acquired former Bronco went toe-to-toe with Patterson on Wednesday in their respective debuts with their new teams. Noah King, who was acquired by Spokane on Tuesday, and the Chiefs visited Angel of the Winds Arena in what was both players’ debut game for their respective teams.
The 6-foot-4, 1999-born Patterson is described as a great passer that improved leaps and bounds playing center this season for Swift Current. He’s expected to be a solid depth piece for Everett with an opportunity to cement himself as the Silvertips’ No. 2 center.
Patterson said he wasn’t shocked by the trade. Enjoying a career offensive season with a team-high 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 27 games with the Broncos, Patterson reportedly requested a trade, according to Swift Current Online, and received his wish on Monday morning.
It was the start of a brand-new chapter for Patterson. He might not see the same ice time he received as the top scorer on Swift Current’s reconstructed roster, but with a WHL championship in his rear view, he’s ecstatic to do whatever it takes to return to that feeling.
“I’m hoping just to help the team win as best as I can and make a deep playoff run,” Patterson said. “That’s the goal.”
Silvertips prospect selected to Team B.C. for Canada Games
Ty Gibson, Everett’s third-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft, was named to the Under-16 Team British Columbia’s roster for the Canada Winter Games from Feb. 15 to March 3 in Red Deer, Alberta, on Wednesday. The Victoria native has signed a contract with Everett and has nine points (three goals, six assists) in nine games for the South Island Royals of the British Columbia Major Midget League this season.
Everett included in CHL Top 10
The Silvertips remained at No. 6 in the Central Hockey League’s Top 10 rankings on Wednesday. Everett is the second-highest WHL team listed, with the Prince Albert Raiders slotting in at the top spot. Vancouver (No. 7) and Moose Jaw (honorable mention) are also included.
Bieksa drops puck
Kevin Bieksa, a 13-year NHL veteran with the Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks, dropped the puck before the Silvertips’ game on Wednesday. A former teammate of Everett head coach Dennis Williams at Bowling Green, Bieksa is practicing with the Silvertips this week in preparation for his appearance with Team Canada at the Spengler Cup in late December.