The Moose Jaw Warriors get set to begin the second round of their WHL Playoffs on Friday night in Winnipeg against the ICE.  

The community of Moose Jaw will be behind their Warriors, as they have been for almost 30 years. 

Since 1984 the Warriors have been a staple within the community, being the team to watch on a Friday or Saturday night at the old Civic Centre or their current location at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.  

John Iatridis is the owner of The Mad Greek and has been a long-time fan and supporter of the hometown club.  

Iatridis says that the Warriors are more than just a hockey team, they are part of the community of Moose Jaw.  

“They wear our city on their chest and represent us through all of western Canada,” says Iatridis. “I think sport in general but especially the Warriors is a good way to come together to rally around the team together and feel united.”  

Over the years Iatridis has had the pleasure to interact and build a relationship with hundreds of Warrior players, coaches, and even office staff through his restaurant or his family's establishment when he was a kid.  

One of those friendships is with former Warriors forward and retired NHLer Kyle Brodziak who played in Moose Jaw from 2000-2004.  

“He’s one of my best friends and to this day he still comes to town with his family, he will spend time with us, or we’ll go to Edmonton to visit,” says Iatridis. “It’s hard to believe because 20 years ago I’m watching him as an 18- or 19-year-old playing on the ice, and feeding him at the restaurant, trying to be a positive influence on him. 

Taking part in his family business at such a young age, Iatridis and his family didn’t have a lot of spare time, but one thing they did make time for was going to the Civic Centre to watch Warrior games.  

“My dad was known for the guy that stood down at the corner of the Civic Centre,” adds Iatridis My mom really got into it, as she didn’t even know what hockey was when she moved here.” 

His mom got into hockey and the Warriors so much that one year she hosted former player Joey Perricone, his family, and a number of Warrior players for American Thanksgiving, even though they weren’t in any way from the United States.  

“It brings unity. I remember my dad telling me, if you get a chance, buy them a meal. He would say to me, your mom and I would go nuts if you and your brother were 500 or 600 miles away from home so do what you can to give part in these kid's days.” 

The tradition of supporting the Warriors and attending their home games has been one he has passed on to his own kids. 

“There has been a bit of a lull and my youngest one just looked at me yesterday and said are there more games? The one thing I love seeing at the rink is seeing a lot of younger people there because it makes me feel positive about the future of our team.” 

Over the years, The Mad Greek has been the go-to spot for the Warriors prior to an away game, or where opposing WHL teams eat for their post-game meal.  

Through that Iatridis has had the opportunity to meet NHLers like Kelly Buchberger, Mike Keane, Lyle Odelein, and Theoren Fleury.  

A tradition that Iatridis has started with the Warriors is prior to the playoffs, to have the whole team and staff come into the restaurant and enjoy as much pizza and ribs as their hearts desire.  

“They are kids right, but they are training for a sport that in Canada we take very seriously. I think it’s nice for them to be able to sit down and have some pizza and ribs, as opposed to having a healthy meal. We do it for the staff too because people like Mary Ann have been there for over 20 years and James Gallo, I have known for I don’t know how long. Those people are as much a part of the team as any player or coach.” 

With the Warriors embarking on the second round of the playoffs, Iatridis had a message to share with the community.  

“If you can go to the games go, but if you can’t maybe sponsor people that aren’t able to go. It’s nice to see families get the opportunity to share that experience. We have such a great team.” 

The Warriors will continue their playoff run with games 1 & 2 in Winnipeg on Friday and Saturday in Winnipeg. Moose Jaw will return home for games 3 & 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday.  

Joel Apr 13.jpg Joel Edmundson wearing his Mad Greek shirt during the NHL Eastern Conference Finals in 2021. Photo submitted
Brayden Apr 12.jpg Current Moose Jaw Warriors forward Brayden Yager with Iatridis' kids. Photo submitted