There was a lot of buzz at the Moose Jaw Events Centre (formerly known as Mosaic place) on Tuesday afternoon, as the U18 AAA Warriors hosted their fall camp looking to fill their last three roster spots.
A mixture of returning players and invitees were split up into four teams and battled it out in head-to-head games on Monday and Tuesday allowing coaches and staff to evaluate. To wrap things up the four teams were turned into two for a grey and white game, with team grey skating to a 5-3 win.
Discover Moose Jaw spoke to a couple of returning Warrior players that took part in the camp.
Moose Jaw’s, Liam Fitzpatrick was happy to get back onto the ice and shake the cobwebs off after a long off-season.
“I’ve been skating and working out five days a week at the Prairie Hockey Academy, we got a good group of guys out there that push each other to get better,” says Fitzpatrick.
As a rookie last season, Fitzpatrick put up 39 points (19G-20A), which was good enough to put him second in team scoring with hopes to improve his overall game coming into this season.
“I’m looking to improve as a player, improve my D-zone and all-around game, I’m not really too focused on points, more on the success of the team."
Going into this season Fitzpatrick is feeling really confident with the team that has been assembled and hoping to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Like Fitzpatrick, returning forward Connor Miller has also been hard at work this summer getting ready for his second year in the league.
“I did lots of off-ice training with my personal trainer back at home and then probably three months solid I've been skating in Regina, and Caronport getting ready for this season,” Miller explains.
He adds that it was good to get back on the ice for the camp after a very busy summer.
“It was actually really good to get out there with the guys and start having fun again and get back into mid-season form or trying to at least.”
Miller who hails from Lipton, SK, has high hopes for the team to qualify for the prestigious Mac’s Tournament in Calgary over the Christmas break. He says that he thinks this year's Warriors squad is good enough to get there.
Like Miller and Fitzpatrick, head coach, Trevor Weisgerber was happy with what he saw over the two-day camp.
“We had two good scrimmages yesterday (Monday), it was very competitive, and this morning we practiced and we saw the boys in a different atmosphere,” says Weisgerber. “We’re happy, we’re still making some decisions on what we’re going to do to fill those last few spots.”
With the returning players, along with the three new additions, Weisgerber sees the Warriors will be a highly skilled squad this season.
“This year I think we’ll have some more skilled guys where we can play that up-tempo game. We want to be that team where other teams have to match our pace and the way we play. I think this year we’ll have some skilled guys, especially on the back end that can move pucks really well.”
In net, the Warriors will rely on second-year goalie Ryan Bain who posted a 10-6-0-1 record last season with a 3.57 GAA and a .878 SV%. They will also welcome newly committed goalie Ryan Hicks to the roster this year.
Weisberger adds that the decision on the final three roster spots will be made in the coming days, which will completely finalize the roster.
Following Tuesday’s camp, the players have a small break before getting back on the ice to prepare for this first preseason game on Sept. 11 against the Swift Current Legionnaires at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.
The Warriors bench boss will look to get off to a hot start this season, as they open up the 2022-2023 Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League season on Sept. 23 against the Battleford Stars at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.