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Warriors to play home opener on Oct. 1, select 50th overall in Import Draft

Plans for 2021-22 Western Hockey League campaign coming together quickly as eyes turn toward full return to play
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(file photo)
The Moose Jaw Warriors now know who they’ll face when they open the 2021-22 Western Hockey League campaign — and it’s a team they surprisingly haven’t seen a lot of in the first week of the season over the years.

The Warriors will take on the Saskatoon Blades at Mosaic Place on Friday, Oct. 1 before making the return trip to Saskatoon for the Blades home opener the next night.

It’s been more than a decade since the two teams played one another to open their respective campaigns.

The Warriors faced Saskatoon in their second game of the season in 2007-08, with the Riley Holzapfel and Jordan Knackstedt-led team dropping a 5-4 decision.

The two teams also met in game two of the Warriors’ legendary 2005-06 campaign, and the contest marked an announcement of sorts as to what was coming: Troy Brouwer and Dustin Boyd would each have hat tricks in a 9-3 win in Saskatoon.

The previous season marked the most recent time the Warriors and Blades played a home-and-home in their first two games, with Saskatoon winning 4-3 and 8-4 to kick off the campaign.

The WHL pre-season campaign will be announced on Monday, June 21, followed by the WHL Western Conference schedule on June 23. The Eastern Conference schedule will be announced at a later date.

The Warriors will have a bit of a wait before they make their selection in the 2021 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft on June 30.

Moose Jaw ended up with the 17th pick out of all WHL teams based on a random lottery drawing last week, and that turned into the 50th overall pick when the CHL announced the Import Draft order of selection on Thursday.

The Warriors will also have the 17th pick, 77th overall, should they choose to make a second selection. The team is expecting to see Czech Republic standout Martin Rysavy join the team this fall, and as a result will likely make a single selection.

The 50th overall selection has offered a mixed bag in recent years. 

Russia’s Maxim Barbashev scored six goals and 10 points in 10 games for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL in 2020-21 after being selected 50th in 2020.

Charlottetown’s Nikita Alexandrov had the best career in recent years, joining the QMJHL’s Islanders in 2017 and playing three seasons at a point-a-game pace. He was selected in the second round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues in 2019.

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