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Three Moose Jaw Warriors among Team Canada hopefuls for upcoming World Juniors

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With the 2024 World Junior Hockey Championship just weeks away, the Moose Jaw Warriors will have three players heading to Oakville,Ont. hoping to make the final roster.

Warriors’ captain and defenseman Denton Mateychuk, along with forwards Jagger Firkus and Brayden Yager were all invited to the selection camp that takes place Dec. 10 – 13.

“I’m pretty tight with these two guys, been playing with them the last couple years. Kind of grew up with them so it’s pretty special to get the opportunity as kind of a trio. We are really looking forward to it and hopefully we get to represent our country together,” said Yager.

“I’ve played with these guys since I came into the league so to be able to share this opportunity with them it’s going to be really awesome. You just want to see those guys succeed,” said Mateychuk.

All three are NHL draft picks, with Mateychuk and Yager being selected in the first rounds of the 2022 and 2023 drafts going to Columbus and Pittsburgh respectively.

Firkus meanwhile, was a second round selection of the Seattle Kraken in 2022, he leads the Warriors in scoring this season with 49 points in 26 games.

Yager represented Canada and won gold at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and Mateychuk has also dawned the red and white and earned a gold medal at the 2021 World Under-18 Hockey Championship.

“I think just from that short tournament when I was 16, I learned a ton. It’s helped me become the player I am today for sure,” Mateychuk reminisced.

This would be Firkus’ first opportunity to represent Canada on the world stage.

“It’d mean the world to put that Maple Leaf on your chest and going to this camp is giving me that opportunity to make the team. That’s kind of your mentality going into the camp is [to make] the best impression possible,” said Firkus.

In total, 30 players have been invited to attend Team Canada’s selection camp, nine from the Western Hockey League (WHL).

However, Yager is the only Saskatchewan product to make the initial roster as he hails from Saskatoon.

“Obviously I’m proud to be from Saskatchewan and as you know, a lot of great players are from Saskatchewan. I think just being able to represent my province and hopefully my country will be a big honour,” he exclaimed.

Canada’s National Junior Team will travel to Malmo, Sweden on Dec. 14 for pre-tournament camp.

The 2024 World Juniors begin on Boxing Day from Sweden with Canada opening the tournament against Finland.

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