Moose Jaw Warriors name Jason Ripplinger new GM
REGINA -- The Moose Jaw Warriors announced Jason Ripplinger as the team's next general manager on Thursday morning.
“It’s a very exciting for myself and my family, it’s going to be a great future here in Moose Jaw,” Ripplinger said in a media conference Thursday.
Ripplinger is being promoted to general manager after serving as the Warriors' assistant GM since 2017. He was shortlisted for the GM position 10 years ago but was beat out by Alan Millar.
“I probably wasn’t ready for it but working alongside Alan for the last four years I know I’m definitely ready for it,” Ripplinger said.
Previous GM Alan Millar stepped down from the post with the Warriors after accepting the position of Director of Player Personnel within Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence on Feb 23.
Ripplinger said it was always Millar’s intention to groom him for the GM position when Millar hired him in 2017.
“Al had approached me and said there could be an opportunity and he felt that eventually one day I’d be ready to be a general manager. Today’s the day and I’m excited to do it,” Ripplinger explained.
He previously spent 17 years with the Vancouver Giants, starting as the WHL club’s head scout in 2001. He was named the director of player personnel in 2008 and helped build the teams that won the 2006 WHL Championship and 2007 Memorial Cup.
Ripplinger said he looks for speed, compete and hockey sense in the players he drafts or acquires.
“We weren’t the most skilled team when we won the Memorial Cup,” Ripplinger said. “The one year Milan Lucic had 30 goals, 60 points. He was our highest scorer, we had so many guys that competed.”
It’s the Warriors' second internal promotion in just over a year. Head coach Mark O’Leary shifted from assistant coach when Tim Hunter was let go in January 2020. O’Leary and Ripplinger share the same united philosophy.
“We have a vision of not only what our team looks like right now but where we want to get it to and what it looks like when it’s competing for a championship,” O’Leary said.
Moose Jaw’s WHL club is a community-owned team. President and governor Chad Taylor said the team wanted to do their due diligence in hiring a new GM, but Ripplinger was always the front runner.
“We need a leader. The leader that recruits the players and is working with the parents, the players from such a young age that needs to be our leader in the office and that’s Jason,” Taylor said.
The Moose Jaw Warriors have never won a Memorial Cup and have only played in one WHL final. With one Canadian Hockey League title under his belt, Ripplinger has the experience to help the Warriors win their first.