It isn’t often a simple name change brings with it so many wholesale and potentially beneficial opportunities for a group of organizations, but Friday afternoon’s press conference with the Moose Jaw Minor Hockey Association and the Moose Jaw Warriors was one of those moments.
The event revealed that the MJMHA and Warriors would officially be forming a renewed partnership and sponsorship agreement that would see the AAA team name changed from the Generals to Warriors, along with a host of other efforts designed to create a mentorship and advisory role between the Western Hockey League team and Moose Jaw minor hockey.
“For us, we’re really excited about this announcement,” said minor hockey president Patrick Boyle. “We’re looking to create that culture shift within hockey in Moose Jaw, and you have to start at the top. Culture shifts are slow, but we’re showing that we’re becoming integrated with the Moose Jaw Warriors, a world class organization here in North America and Canada, so we want to be very close with them and keep that partnership going.
“This sport is so much more than the game itself, it’s the work ethic and the Warriors and their values are the direction we’re trying to go.”
Boyle added that having the opportunity to work with the vast knowledge and success the Warriors staff have on hand – especially with the near universal involvement of the WHL team’s experience with Hockey Canada – will only be beneficial.
“We’re going to look at doing more coaching development things like having Tim Hunter and Hockey Ted Talks and stuff like that,” Boyle said. “A lot of this came up in conversation with board members and in conversations with the Warriors, there’s some interest there and it’s great we’ve gone down that path.
“It’s great to have that openness between the two organizations and having the two of us working together.”
Moose Jaw Warriors general manager Alan Millar wasn’t available for the press conference due to his Hockey Canada duties but expressed his happiness with the deal in a news release.
“We are excited that the young men representing Moose Jaw in the Sasaktchewan Midget AAA League will now be carrying the Warriors name and wearing Warriors colours,” Millar said.
“Our team believes the development of young people on and off the ice and the development of our coaches is essential throughout our minor hockey system. We look forward to building our relationship with Moose Jaw minor hockey as we enter into this important new partnership.”
The importance of the event was on display at the announcement, as mayor Fraser Tolmie as well as city councillors Heather Eby and Crystal Froese were on hand alongside Moose Jaw Wakamow MLA Greg Lawrence.
The event also acted as the official reveal of the rest of the AAA Warriors coaching and management staff – former players with the AAA squad Carter Smith, Carter Davis and Evan Schwabe will act as assistant coaches and Jeremy Ebbett will take over as general manager alongside head coach Trevor Weisgerber.