The Moose Jaw Warriors are looking to build on a very successful campaign last season that saw them make it to the second round of the Western Hockey League playoffs.  

The Warriors took the first step towards building on last season, with their training camp kicking off on Wednesday.  

“I’m excited and the players are excited,” says Warriors head coach, Mark O’Leary.  “It’s a group of guys that have been together now for three to four years and I think it’s just real excitement of expectations to take another step this year and this is just the beginning.” 

This year’s camp will feature 20 returning players, joined by 48 draft picks, listed players and camp invites. 

Following registration and introductions, players took to the Yara Centre for fitness testing.  

“It went really well. I think the biggest thing with fitness testing is you want to see improvement year-to-year but you also want to see competitiveness and that’s one thing about our group and what we take pride in drafting is compete,” adds O’Leary. 

Players will hit the ice for the first time on Thursday and will be split up into the rookie and main camps with a combination of practices and scrimmages.  

“By the time we get to Saturday we’ll have it cut down to one main camp and we will get into some scrimmages with one big group.” 

The camp will end with the annual Black/White intrasquad game at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, followed by meetings.  

One of the returning players is standout forward Brayden Yager who is coming off 59 points in his rookie season, CHL Rookie of the Year honours, and a gold medal for Team Canada at the U18 World Championships.  

“This is our year! We’re looking to do some pretty special things this year,” explains Yager. “Last year was a good year, we took a big step and made it to the second round of the playoffs. We’ve been looking forward to this year since last year.” 

Yager had a very busy offseason with the U18 Worlds, and awards ceremonies, but he says a lot of off-season training was done to prepare for this season. 

“The big thing for me is getting bigger, stronger, and faster, those are three things that take you to the next level anywhere you go.  

Brayden Yager Aug 31.jpg Moose Jaw Warriors forward, Brayden Yager. 

The Saskatoon product finished the season eighth in WHL rookie scoring with 59 points. He also broke a 37-year-old Warriors scoring record, which was held by Theo Fleury for goals in a season by a 16-year-old.

A full camp roster can be found HERE, along with a full training camp schedule HERE.