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Moose Jaw’s Calvert makes regular-season debut with Warriors

AAA Warriors' 16-year-old forward picks up third star in first WHL game
Warriors Winnipeg Calvert1
Moose Jaw Warriors forward and Moose Jaw Minor Hockey product Atley Calvert (centre) battles for position in front of the Winnipeg net.
With the way things have gone for Atley Calvert in his first season of Midget AAA hockey, it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors would come calling.

That they did last week, as the 16-year-old Moose Jaw minor hockey product practiced with the team leading up to the slate of games this weekend.

Then on Thursday, Warriors head coach Tim Hunter officially gave Calvert the news.

He’d be playing his first WHL regular season game the next next night against the Winnipeg Ice at Mosaic Place.

“We used him because he can play,” Hunter said matter-of-factly after the Warriors' 3-2 win. “He knows the game and he sees the ice really well, he as really good hockey IQ and he competes. He didn’t lose any faceoffs clean, he created 50-50 pucks and worked his way around the ice… he did a good job and we’re excited to see him with our hockey club in the future.”

Calvert saw a regular shift and showed the same style of play that has made him the AAA Warriors leading scorer through the first month of the season with eight goals and 16 points in 13 games.

“It’s been pretty crazy, I really wanted to get in the line-up today and when Tim gave me the news I was pretty excited,” Calvert said shortly after being named the third star of the contest.

Warriors Winnipeg Calvert2Moose Jaw Minor Hockey product Atley Calvert made his regular-season debut with the Warriors on Friday night.

With the call-up came a few perks, like a whole slew of Warriors-branded gear, including the t-shirt Calvert was wearing during post-game interview.

“Yeah, [equipment manager] Matt [Dyck] hooked me up with some pretty sweet stuff,” he said with a wide grin.

Fun stuff aside, turning in an effective performance was important to the Prairie Hockey Academy graduate, especially in his first game.

Mission accomplished.

“That was of my goals this year to play at the Western Hockey League level and this is just another goal to check off my list,” said Calvert, who went undrafted but was signed by the Warriors in the off-season. “I thought I played hard and my teammates played hard and it was a good two points.”

The difference in the level of play was as one would expect for someone making the leap to a new age category and taking the ice against players four years his senior.

“There’s a  lot less time out there, guys are a lot bigger and faster and you have to make plays that much quicker,” he said.

Calvert and the Warriors are back in action Saturday night when they host the Swift Current Broncos. Game time is 7 p.m. at Mosaic Place.

Overtime… Atley is the second member of his family to play for the Warriors... Jeff Calvert, Atley’s father and a Moose Jaw firefighter, was a goaltender for the Warriors and Tacoma Rockets from 1989-94 and holds the fourth-best all-time record for most games played at 229 and is also sixth in all-time minutes played at 12,226.

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