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'Brought the community together': Moose Jaw rallying behind Warriors in championship bid

Moose Jaw, Sask. -

The city of Moose Jaw is rallying behind its Warriors as they search for their first Western Hockey League (WHL) championship in franchise history.

“The talk of the town is, we’re going to take it,” long-time Warriors season ticket holder Darlene Hetherington said.

The support was culminated Sunday when the team returned home with two wins in games one and two in Portland against the Winterhawks.

Fans lined the streets of the city as the bus rolled into town and when players walked off the bus, they were swarmed with cheers.

“It was phenomenal,” Hetherington recounted. “It’s so exciting and so fun to be a part of.”

“We are so proud,” she added.

The Warriors have played in only one WHL final previously. Getting swept four games to none in 2006 by the Vancouver Giants.

This version of the Warriors has already done something they never have before, win a game.

They did it twice, taking game one Friday 3-2, and game two Saturday 5-1.

“We want to bring [the city] a championship,” captain Denton Mateychuk said on Monday. “That’s what we’re going to try and do.”

Downtown Moose Jaw is covered iwith Warriors signs and stickers.

“They’ve brought the whole community together,” first-time season ticket holder Dawn Skardal said. “Everybody has a good reason to cheer.”

“We all have a collective reason to cheer for somebody now,” she added.

Warriors forward and Moose Jaw product Atley Calvert said Monday the support is not going unnoticed

“It’s pretty amazing,” he said. “Growing up here and seeing the support for the Warriors, we really appreciate it.”

Head Coach Mark O’Leary said Sunday’s welcome was no surprise.

“Whether we win games or lose games, [the fans] are important,” he said. “It’s crazy to see it this time of year.”

Hetherington had one message for her hometown squad headed into game three.

“We are all behind you,” she said. “We know you’ll play your hearts out.”

Game’s three and four will be at 8 p.m. in Moose Jaw Tuesday and Wednesday, because of the distance between Moose Jaw and Portland, game five would also be held in Moose Jaw if needed.

The series would return to Portland for games six and seven, also if necessary. Top Stories

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