Pats mourn passing of Memorial Cup winner Rick Uhrich
BY GREG HARDER, THE LEADER-POST SEPTEMBER 5, 2014
Kim MacDougall and Rick Uhrich had been in touch several times over the past year about the upcoming reunion of the 1974 Memorial Cup-champion Regina Pats.
Little did MacDougall know their most-recent conversation would be the last. Uhrich, a 60-year-old Regina native, passed away suddenly on Thursday morning near his home in Toronto, leaving MacDougall and other former Pats teammates "at a loss."
"I sent an email out today to all the guys (to inform them of Uhrich's passing)," said MacDougall, who's organizing the 40th anniversary celebration.
"The respect that everybody has for him is amazing. He's one of the nicest guys. I don't know if I've ever heard anybody say anything bad about him. The unfortunate part is I'll never have another telephone conversation with him. In today's world they email and stuff. We phone each other. I'm certainly going to miss those calls."
Uhrich played four season with the Pats, the final being in 1973-74 when they captured the Memorial Cup. That championship season was the basis for a lasting bond.
"I remember our 25th reunion, our 30th reunion, it's just like you were playing hockey together two weeks ago," noted MacDougall. "You don't miss a beat. It's hard to describe but there is definitely a special bond when you go through and win a championship like that. You look at the Memorial Cup, it has to be pretty special. The Pats haven't won it for 40 years."
It was also special because of the group that won it - Uhrich included.
"You look at our Memorial Cup team, we really only had three guys from outside the province of Saskatchewan," noted MacDougall. "You won't find that very often anymore or at all. The 12 guys from Regina all went to school or played minor hockey with and against each other, knew each other for a long, long time."
Uhrich was the fourthleading scorer on the Pats' star-studded team, recording 35 goals and 87 points in 68 games. He spent the next season with the IHL's Fort Wayne Komets before retiring to get into the computer business.
Uhrich met his wife Jill while playing for the Pats. Uhrich and his wife Jill had two children: Son Jesse, 20, and daughter Clare, 17.
"He's our first player (to pass away)," said MacDougall, noting that head coach Bob Turner died in 2005. "(Uhrich) was a very, very good friend. I talked to him a month ago about the reunion stuff and he was coming back for some business and wondered when we were having it.
"We didn't get it off (in the spring due to some scheduling conflicts). We're doing it on Oct. 10. You always have regrets about everything. Now I regret we didn't do it earlier."
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His obituary can be found here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/leaderpost/obituary.aspx?n=richard-uhrich&pid=172375743