Sanford stoked about trade to Regina

Vernon’s Cole Sanford will finish his Western Hockey League career with the Regina Pats.

Vernon’s Cole Sanford will finish his Western Hockey League career with the Regina Pats.

Sanford, 20, flew to Everett on Monday and was scheduled to make his Pats’ debut Tuesday night against the Silvertips.

Regina traded two players and three draft picks to get the dynamic winger from the Medicine Hat Tigers in a Sunday blockbuster at the trading deadline.

Sanford rang up 50 goals and 95 points last season. He has compiled 21 goals and 38 points in 33 games this season, playing without last year’s linemate Trevor Cox, who was traded to the Vancouver Giants earlier this season.

“I know a couple of guys and (former Viper trainer Gord Cochran) Hoon is there,” said Sanford. “There are quite a few games to play but making the playoffs is certainly our goal and hopefully we can win a lot of games down the stretch.”

“This was a unique opportunity to acquire one of the premiere goal scorers in the Western Hockey League,” said Regina head coach John Paddock on the Pats’ website.

“We’ve been looking to add a consistent scorer to play with Sam Steel.  The chance to add a 50-goal scorer like Cole enhanced that opportunity. It’s important for our young players to gain playoff experience and this enhances our drive for the playoffs.”

Steel has 15 goals and 42 points and is a projected first-round pick in this June’s NHL amateur lottery.

“He’s a playmaker, “ said Sanford. “He plays up the middle and if you look at his blade, he’s got a paddle so he likes to pass the puck. Hopefully, I’ll be a good fit with him.”

Regina is seventh in the Eastern Conference with 42 points, while Medicine Hat is ninth, eight points back.

“I had requested a trade earlier in the season but I had no idea where I was going,” added Sanford, who played for the Edmonton Oilers in the Young Stars NHL Tournament in Penticton and was later invited to the Oilers’ main camp.

Sanford has played 230 games in the WHL, all with the Tigers. He has 217 points and  197 penalty minutes.

In exchange for Sanford, the Pats sent to Medicine Hat: forward Brian Williams (’95), prospect forward Gary Haden (’99), the Pats’ 2018 second-round, 2017 fifth-round, and Lethbridge’s 2016 third-round WHL Bantam draft picks.

Regina acquired Williams from the Tri-City Americans last week. Williams, 21, of Claremont, Calif., produced 7-13-20 with Tri-City.

Haden is a high-end prospect playing with the Calgary Foothills CFR Chemical Bisons of the AMHL. Haden leads the league with 16 goals and 44 points.

The Pats play the Winterhawks Wednesday night in Portland.