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Trio of Warriors predicted to crack Canada’s line-up for World Juniors

Projections by The Athletic feature Mateychuk, Firkus and Yager all playing for Canada when tournament begins Boxing Day in Sweden
If predictions by a pair of hockey observers from The Athletic are correct, Brayden Yager and Jagger Firkus will be joined by captain Denton Mateychuk on Team Canada’s roster for the 2024 World Junior Hockey Championship.

If recent predictions from a pair of longtime major junior hockey observers turn out correctly, the Moose Jaw Warriors could be on the verge of team history.

Longtime hockey writers Corey Pronman and Scott Wheeler both expect a trio of Moose Jaw Warriors to end up playing for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship beginning next month.

The duo, writers for The Athletic sports news site, put together potential rosters for Team Canada heading into selection camp in mid-December, with forwards Jagger Firkus and Brayden Yager joining Denton Mateychuk in cracking Canada’s roster.

If all three were to make Team Canada, it would mark the first time in the Warriors’ 40-year history that three members of the team cracked the national team roster for the same tournament, and one of the few times that many players from the same CHL team have made the jump.

Mateychuk, the Warriors captain and a Columbus Blue Jackets prospect, is considered a lock to make the team, with both writers having him playing on the top defensive pairing. Pronman has him suiting up alongside Phoenix prospect Maveric Lamoureux, while Wheeler figures he’ll be alongside Pittsburgh first-rounder Owen Pickering -- who just also happens to be Mateychuk’s cousin.

Mateychuk is off to a stellar start with the Warriors, having put up points in every game since returning to the team from Columbus camp. That translates into six goals and 23 points in 16 games thus far..

Wheeler has Pittsburgh first-round selection Yager suiting up on the same line as Seattle second-rounder Firkus and playing alongside Kamloops’ Fraser Minten, keeping the chemistry between the two high-scoring linemates.

Pronman spreads the wealth, slotting Yager in at centre alongside consensus 2024 first overall selection Macklin Celebrini and Columbus draftee Jordan Dumais, while Firkus would play on a wing with fellow Kraken pick Rehkopf and Detroit’s Nate Danielson, currently a member of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Firkus is quite possibly off to the best start in the entire CHL, as he leads the WHL in scoring with 22 goals and 43 points in 21 games and has led all of major junior hockey in scoring in recent weeks.

Yager has lived up to his first-round selection by the Pens this past summer, putting up 12 goals and 29 points in 20 games thus far.

Team Canada will hold their selection camp Dec. 10-13 in Oakville, Ont., with the team announced immediately after.

Canada opens the tournament in Gothenburg, Sweden on Tuesday, Dec. 26 when they host Finland.

The Moose Jaw Warriors are back in action on Friday night when they host the Swift Current Broncos. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.

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