Brent Parker (WHL.ca)After spending 18 years with the Regina Pats, including 15 as general manager, the Brent Parker era ended today when he announced his resignation as the club’s president and governor at an emotional press conference.
“I am honoured and humbled to have been a part of this storied franchise,” says Parker. “While we did not achieve all our goals over the past 18 years, we have done a lot of good things in this community and I am proud of our many accomplishments.”
Parker became the Pats' general manager and president in 1995 when his parents, Russ and Diane Parker, bought the organization. He later relinquished his GM duties in 2010 to Chad Lang, but stayed on as the team's president.
Throughout the years with Parker as the Pats’ architect, the media, especially local, constantly scrutinized him. This critical reporting was warranted, though. Regina missed the playoffs four times and never made it past the second round under him.
Parker admits he made mistakes, but believes he put his best effort forward.
“I regret we were not able to win the championship that the hockey fans of Regina so desperately want and deserve, but it was not for lack of trying,” says Parker. “I leave knowing that while not all my decisions were correct, every decision I made regarding this franchise was done with sole purpose of doing what I felt was going to give us the best chance to succeed on and off the ice.”
Parker has no immediate plans for the future. He just knows he’s happy he will no longer have to tough out the cold winters in Regina.
As a result of Parker stepping down, the Pats promoted Chad Lang, adding vice-president and governor to his GM title. He also signed a three-year deal (two plus a club option) contract extension.
“I’m incredibly grateful to Russ and Diane Parker for the confidence they have shown in trusting me with the operation of their family’s business,” says Lang. “I’m thankful to Brent for the opportunity to join this organization and appreciate his cooperation and support during my three years with the team. I’m very excited about the opportunities that lay ahead in the future for this franchise.”
“Chad is considered a young star among WHL general managers,” adds Pats Owner Russ Parker. “He has past experience in all facets of a WHL franchise and we are confident he has the wherewithal to oversee the Regina Pats organization going forward.”
Lang’s three-year deal is in line with recently named head coach Malcolm Cameron, who took over Pat Conacher's duties just last week after he stepped down.
For the past couple of years, rumours have swirled about the Parker family looking to sell their WHL club. Now with the owners' son no longer in the picture, it seems the possibility of a new ownership group taking over the Pats has significantly heightened.
Russ Parker admitted that his family talked about selling after Brent told them he was stepping down. The club’s owner added he’s “not getting any younger” and made no promises he wouldn’t sell the team in the near future.
Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen