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Warriors development camp an exciting time for team, players

Total of 23 players, families in Moose Jaw for special team orientation event
When Denton Mateychuk was chosen by the Moose Jaw Warriors with the 11th overall pick of the 2019 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, the waiting game and the anticipation officially began.

The first date circled on his calendar? The Warriors annual development camp, taking place this weekend at venues throughout the city.

First up, though, was the team’s camp reception, a highly anticipated event where players chosen in the draft and listed by the team the previous year have a chance to meet team personnel and receive their first team jersey, along with other swag.

Mateychuk was among them and as the first round pick, the final player to step on the stage.

“It feels awesome and I’m very honoured,” he said shortly after the photo ops and live interview with director of communications James Gallo.

“I’ve been excited to get here, I’ve been counting down the days until this came and now it’s finally here and I’m going to enjoy it… it’s a beautiful place, the hotel we’re in is really nice, it’s a beautiful rink. It’s great to be here.”

The entire weekend points in one direction – having a bit of fun and getting an idea of what the Warriors are all about. That includes touring various pertinent parts of the city, a couple of ice sessions at Barkman Arena in Caronport and even a Miller Express baseball game.

Warriors 2018 first round pick Eric Alarie has seen it all before, having taken part in the camp last year, and was also looking forward to another kick at the can this time around.

“I know the staff a bit more, so I feel a bit more comfortable around them and with the team this year,” Alarie said when asked about the difference. “And I’m a veteran this year so I’ll try and show some leadership there.”

Alarie has one other advantage over his compatriots – he’s already scored his first Western Hockey League goal, that coming during the playoff series with the Saskatoon Blades back in March.

“It was good to have a chance to play in the WHL, my linemates really helped me there,” Alarie said. “I was able to see the pace of the game and get familiar with the guys on the team.”

The goal this time around?
“I just want to go out there and have fun, work my (butt) off every single time and be a leader out there,” Alarie said.

That’s what Warriors general manager Alan Millar is hoping to see, along with a whole bunch of other positive interactions between the team, coaches, staff and players in the community.

“That’s what the weekend is all about,” Millar said. “Between video sessions and on-ice fitness training, nutrition, cooking… we want to get these young guys entrenched in our environment and understanding what it takes to play at this level. We want to give them some of those tools to take back home and learn and get better.

“It’s great for them to get to know the community and our club and start the process of growing and having an opportunity to play in the Western Hockey League.”



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