Players and staff members of the Moose Jaw Warriors are taking in the Memorial Cup experience this week in Saginaw, Michigan. 

It’s been a long time coming for the organization as the team won their first WHL title in their 40-year history. 

The Warriors are staying in the City of Frankenmuth, located about 25 to 30 minutes outside of Saginaw, along with the OHL champion London Knights and QMJHL champion Drummondville Voltigeur. The host Saginaw Spirit had the option of staying in a hotel or with their billets and decided to stay with their billet families. 

The Voice of the Warriors James Gallo said head coach Mark O’Leary talked to other coaches around the WHL and they suggested giving the team time to take in the experience and the sights around Saginaw. 

Moose Jaw opened the tournament on Friday with a 5-4 loss to the Spirit. However, other than practices, the team had Saturday and Sunday off to take in the experience. 

“There is lots of time for the guys to see the sights and sounds. As much as they are focused on hockey, and trust me they are, it’s also about enjoying the experience because it really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a lot of the players and it took 40 years for the Warrior organization to experience it, so they are soaking it all in,” Gallo said. 

Gallo, who’s been the Voice of the Warriors for over 20 years, said Frankenmuth is a big tourist town with lots to see and do. At the hotel alone, there is laser tag, mini golf, an arcade and a water park. 

It was a long road for the Warriors to get to this point and it all started back in The Hub in 2021. Gallo called general manager Jason Ripplinger the “architect” of this team as the core of Denton Mateychuk, Jagger Firkus, Atley Calvert, Lucas Brenton and Jackson Ungar came together during that hub season. 

“It’s been years in the making,” said Gallo. 

The Warriors' first big moves this season came in October when the Warriors acquired Kalem Parker and Brayden Schuurman from Victoria. After Christmas, the Warriors added Rilen Kovacevic and Vojtech Port from the Edmonton Oil Kings. 

Then came the big move, as the Warriors made a trade at the deadline with the Wenatchee Wild to bring in star forward Matthew Savoie. 

Gallo said the Warriors have been the talk of the tournament because of the community support they have received with community rallies, welcome homes and send-offs. 

He added that the support isn’t lost on the Warrior players either. 

“You ask these players and as much as they are playing for themselves and for the organization, they are playing for Moose Jaw. There is not a guy on this team who wouldn't go through a wall for the community right now. They love the community, and they love the support they've gotten," said Gallo. 

The Warriors continue their push for a Memorial Cup championship tonight against the London Knights. Game time is 5:30 p.m. You can catch all of the action live on Country 100.