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Warriors’ Korczak looking forward to Rangers camp and beyond

Potential for impressive season on horizon, but NHL opportunity calls first
Warriors first practice Korczak
Moose Jaw Warriors forward Ryder Korczak gets a shot off during a practice drill on Wednesday afternoon.
If Moose Jaw Warriors forward Ryder Korczak has his way, he’s already played his final game in the Western Hockey League.

Korczak, 18, took part in fitness testing and the first ice session with the Warriors on Wednesday afternoon but flew out Thursday morning to join up with the New York Rangers for their Development Camp. It’ll mark the first official National Hockey League experience for the Rangers third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, and it’s something Korczak is most definitely looking at with great anticipation.

“I’m not sure how long I’m gone for, but I’ll do training camp down there and hope for the best and maybe stick around a little bit,” Korczak said shortly after the first Team White practice. “It’s going to be something special, it’ll be like when I was first out here when I was 15. I imagine there will be a couple of nerves but also lots of excitement and I’m looking forward to it.”

Of course, Korczak not returning to the Warriors would require an impressive turn of events, not the least of which him sticking with New York -- the NHL’s agreement with the Canadian Hockey League seeings players under the age of 20 either cracking the NHL club’s roster or returning to junior.

Korczak himself admits that while he feels his skillset would allow him to hold his own, there’s still plenty of development in his future.

“I think the skill is there, but just my size and strength are things I have to work on,” he said. “I train with a few NHL guys already and it’s always really neat to see what they do and how good they are and hopefully I’m not that far off.”

The Rangers’ development camp runs for 10 days until Sept. 20 and will include two games against the Philadelphia Flyers prospect group on Sept. 18 and 19.

While Korczak’s hopes and confidence are high, he knows the reality of the situation and that the odds are extremely high he’ll be back in Moose Jaw, possibly in time for the home opener on Oct. 1 against the Saskatoon Blades.

And when that return happens, it’ll be all eyes on the prize.

“It’s exciting to be back, it’s nice to see the guys and the coaching staff and everyone and I’m just excited to get going,” Korczak said. “Like Ripper (general manager Jason Ripplinger) said in the first meeting, we want to be a winning team and we want to make a push for the playoffs. I honestly believe that we can, just watching the fitness testing and the practices today, I think we’re going to be a good team and really competitive, which is something we’re looking forward to.”

Warriors training camp continues with a scrimmage at 4 p.m. on Friday, followed by games at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and the Black and White intrasquad game at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The Warriors preseason opener takes place on Sept. 14 at Mosaic Place against the Brandon Wheat Kings.

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