heywardwebby Doyle Fox

After 23 years and three stellar professional careers, the infamous ‘Pup Line’ of the Regina Pats has been reunited.

After 23 years and three stellar professional careers, the infamous ‘Pup Line’ of the Regina Pats has been reunited.

The Pup Line was made up of Frank Kovacs, Mike Sillinger and Jamie Heward and on Oct. 7 Sillinger and Heward were inducted into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame. Kovacs attended the ceremony as a guest this year, as he was inducted into the hall in 2009.

“Starting out as young skater, I dreamt of one day playing for the Pats. As a Pat, I dreamt of playing in the NHL - as an NHL player, I dreamt of coming home,” Heward said.

“So to receive the support of the community, the honor of joining the other athletes in the Hall of Fame from a city that really defined the player I became, is truly an amazing feeling - more than I can express in words.”

All three members of the line grew up playing minor hockey in Regina before making the jump to the Regina Pats in 1987.

As 16-year-old rookies, the three combined for close to 90 points that season, which paved the way for their careers in both the WHL and the NHL.

Heward and Sillinger stuck with the Pats until the big league came calling in 1989. Heward was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, five picks after the Detroit Red Wings snagged Sillinger with the 11th overall pick.

Sillinger earned the nickname “suitcase” due to his knack for getting traded. He played for a record 12 teams over a career that lasted from 1990 to 2009. He played over 1,000 games and registered 240 goals as well as 548 points.

Heward found success in the NHL as a defenseman, playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning. He amassed 38 goals and 124 points over 394 games. He also spent time in professional leagues in Switzerland and Russia.

Kovacs didn’t have quite the distinguished NHL career that Heward and Sillinger did. He spent most of his career in the minor leagues and retired from the game in 2000. The early retirement opened the door for a career with the Regina Police Service, where he is currently a constable.

The early retirement from hockey also meant an early entrance into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame in 2009, with Heward and Sillinger as his guests in the audience.

“Both Mike and I were thrilled that Frank's career was acknowledged and supported him at the event last year,” Heward said. “He returned the favor this year. It is very humbling to receive the nomination.”

Both Heward and Sillinger remain active in charity in Regina, most notably, the Sticks on Rose street hockey tournament the two organize in the summer. Since its inception four years ago, the event has raised over $200,000 for local children’s charities.

“Regina is, and always will be a place I return to,” Heward said. “No matter where the future takes me, my family and I will consider this city home.”

Other inductees from the evening include Yorkton-born rally car driver Jim Park and Regina-born football player and coach Rob Pyne. Former University of Regina Cougars men’s basketball coach Sam Stewart entered the hall as a builder and the Kiwanis Club of Wascana entered as a patron.