Lucky number seven returns to the lineup for the Moose Jaw Warriors this weekend.
Brayden Tracey will be back on the ice at Mosaic Place when he makes his regular season debut on Friday night as the Warriors host the Vancouver Giants.
"I’m pumped," he said. "I’ve been thinking about it the whole time I was down there and now that I’m here I’ve just got to show it to everyone, especially the fans, the coaching staff, right through to Alan Millar that I’m back and ready to go."
Tracey is coming off an incredible rookie season with the Warriors that saw him score 36 goals and collect 81 points in 66 games. It also led to him becoming the 29th overall pick of the Anaheim Ducks in the 2019 NHL Draft.
"Getting picked is words you can’t describe, you get that feeling in your stomach, you stand up and you just can’t believe it, with my family there beside me, my best buddy, giving them a hug, it’s the best feeling ever and it will never leave my mind," Tracey said about the draft.
The Calgary product feels that his performance at the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Championship with teammate Daemon Hunt on Team Canada helped improved his draft stock after he scored four goals and seven points over seven games.
"That tournament I went in proving that I didn’t need those line mates I had last year, obviously they were a big impact on my play, there was a lot of talk that they were the reason that I had a good year and I proved that pretty well," he said.
However, Tracey’s summer did not go as planned after that as he recovered from an injury suffered last season.
"That was my main key whether I was in Calgary or Anaheim," he said. "Anaheim did an amazing job, getting me through that, recovering me, pushing me through my limits and getting the news that I was able to play again was the best news."
He was ready to go for training camp and felt his game progress as he got his feet underneath him.
"I didn’t skate all summer, so going into that time when I was a couple ice times on the ice back on the ice, it caught up to me a little bit, but once I adjusted it was really good," Tracey said.
"Rakell really stood out to me, he was a guy that was always doing the right things, he plays a similar game like me and watching him you can learn a lot. How he has confidence on the ice and how he handles the puck is cool to see."
Tracey even squared off with some former teammates during rookie tournament action when he scored on Zach Sawchenko with Tristin Langan also on the ice for the San Jose Sharks.
"I didn’t even realize it was [Zach Sawchenko] in net until after I scored," Tracey said. "Me and [Tristin Langan] were talking before the game and after playing on a line all last year, going into that playing against each other is cool."
After watching the team jump out to a 5-1-0-0 start after Wednesday night’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oil Kings, Tracey said he is excited to help the team in any way he can now that he is back.
"I watched all the games, they were good, the guys are off to a great start and I just want to join in and help them out the best I can," he said.
"I’m ready to lead the group, we have great leaders with three assistant captains and they’re going to help the team out a lot, but whatever my role is, I’m ready and I want to take that leadership role to the next level."
Tracey had the chance to learn from Ryan Getzlaf over the summer in Anaheim and the Warriors forward was able to take a lot away from the Ducks’ captain.
"Getzlaf was beside me for about a month in the dressing room and seeing how he handles things, seeing how he helps his teammates is crazy, he’s been with Team Canada his whole life, he’s been the captain for over ten years there and seeing how he handles things was a lot to take in," Tracey said.
He added that he and Getzlaf, a Regina native, talked about the Warriors-Pats rivalry.
"He talked about how he loved the Crushed Can and how that was a classic rink, but with him being from Regina, it was a battle and he loved playing against Moose Jaw, he talked about it a lot and talking meant a lot to me."
Tracey will bring his improved game to the ice with the Warriors when they host the Vancouver Giants at Mosaic Place on Friday. Moose Jaw travels to Prince Albert to take on the defending Ed Chynoweth Cup champion Raiders on Saturday.
Puck drops at 7 p.m. on Friday. Get your tickets at the Mosaic Place Box Office or online here at mjwarriors.ca.