Regier gets 2nd chance with Tips

LYNNWOOD — For the approximately 40 undrafted and unlisted players who were invited to try out for the Everett Silvertips, this week’s training camp represented opportunity.

But for one player it was more than just opportunity, it was a homecoming.

Jeff Regier was among those who received an invite from Everett, and after nearly two years away he’s determined to earn his way back on the Tips roster.

“It feels good to be back,” Regier said Saturday following practice at Lynnwood Ice Center. “I just came out here to give it my all, and hopefully I’ll be back on the squad one day.”

At one time Regier, a 19-year-old defenseman from Abbotsford, B.C., was one of Everett’s brightest prospects. He was selected in the second round of the 2006 bantam draft, and he so impressed that he got into 12 regular season games and six playoff games as a 15-year-old in 2006-07.

Regier was a part-time player during his 16-year-old season in Everett, then he began the 2008-09 season as a regular. However, on Halloween of 2008 he was traded to Prince George in exchange for winger Dale Hunt and a seventh-round draft pick. In total he appeared in 58 games with the Tips over three seasons, tallying six assists and 51 penalty minutes.

Regier was expected to become a key part of the defense in Prince George. However, things didn’t work out. Regier appeared in 51 games for the Cougars that season, recording two goals, three assists and a minus-30 rating. By the end of the season the Cougars were employing him as a forward.

Regier reported back to Prince George last preseason, but he left the team before the season began.

“I just didn’t fit in the environment that well, I guess,” Regier explained. “Things just didn’t work out.

“(Being moved to forward) was one of the reasons things didn’t work out,” Regier added. “I played probably 15 games up front. We ran low on forwards there and I was the guy who got bumped up. I’m a defenseman, I like playing defense, so that was one of the reasons.”

Regier ended up playing at a level lower last season, turning out for the Surrey Eagles of the British Columbia Hockey League. In 46 games he had three goals, six assists and 97 penalty minutes.

But Regier still had the desire to play in the WHL, for Everett in particular.

“I called Doug (Soetaert, Everett’s general manager) during the offseason,” Regier said. “I came down last year, watched the last game of the season, and was kind of on the fence with going to Surrey or giving it another shot in the Dub.”

At first the Tips didn’t have an opening for Regier to try out. But the decisions by defensemen Chris de la Lande and Curtis Kulchar not to return had the Tips scrambling to find another veteran defenseman for training camp. Regier fit the bill.

“At the time he contacted me we really didn’t have any openings defensively, we basically had nine defensemen coming back,” Soetaert said. “But with our two 20-year-olds deciding not to come back, it kind of opened up a spot for camp.

“There’s no guarantees,” Soetaert added. “Like the rest of the players he has to come in and earn his spot. But knowing him and drafting him, knowing the type of person he is, we thought it would be a good opportunity for us to make sure we had enough defensemen. And it gives him a legitimate opportunity to battle for a spot.”

Regier is one of eight defensemen who have been involved in veteran practices this week. Teams typically keep seven or eight defensemen, so Regier feels he has a shot to make the team.

“Things are going pretty good,” Regier said about camp so far. “I’m getting my feet back into it.

“I always loved playing here,” Regier added. “I’m lucky I was able to try out here.”

Slap shots

Training camp concludes today with the Green vs. Grey game. Following the game the Tips will trim the roster down to players with a chance of making the team this season. … Three players who skated in rookie scrimmages joined the veterans in Saturday morning’s practice. Those three were 16-year-old forwards Jari Erricson, Jordyn Boyd and Michael McNicholas. Erricson and Boyd both practiced with the vets once earlier in camp. The only 16-year-old who spent all three days with the veterans was defenseman Nicholas Walters. … Snohomish County resident Michael Fretz finished as the rookie camp’s leading goal scorer. The 16-year-old Maltby resident scored seven goals in six games. Fifteen-year-old Geordie Maguire, the team’s fifth-round pick in this year’s bantam draft, led the camp in scoring with 11 points. Fellow 15-year-old Ryan Chynoweth, the team’s top pick this year, finished second with 10 points.

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