Warriors sign on top prospects

Matthew Gourlie
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The Moose Jaw Warriors locked up a key part of their future Saturday.The club announced that first round picks Carter Hansen and Torrin White had both signed the Western Hockey League's standard player agreement."It's important to lock up your first two picks, but the nice part about it is that they wanted to sign and start their WHL careers," said Jeff Truitt, the Warriors director of hockey operations.

"We're very proud to have them on board."

Hansen was selected 10th overall by the Warriors, while White followed him as the 21st selection in the first round.

The two players spent the day in Moose Jaw meeting with members of the organization and seeing the sights.

"We want our people to understand Moose Jaw and embrace Moose Jaw," said Truitt, who praised Rob MacLachlan, the Warriors director of scouting/player development.

"We're still beaming over (our draft). Rob and the rest of his staff dug hard on all of our picks. We want to make sure we get great hockey players and great people."

The pair received Warriors jerseys and met the media where both said it was an easy choice to commit to the team.

"I'm really excited," said White. "The fans here are great.

"They have awesome players, an awesome coaching staff, they're going to have a new rink. They have awesome fans - it's a perfect fit."

Hansen spent part of last season playing AAA Midget in Moose Jaw and will join the Generals full-time this coming campaign.

"I'm glad I get to play here in Moose Jaw, it's a great town to play in," Hansen said. "There's going to be a lot of great players playing here."

Hansen is a six-foot right winger from Craven who spent last season playing defence for the Lumsden/Bethune Lions. He had 19 goals and 34 points in 26 games. He also played 15 games as an affiliate for Moose Jaw in the Midget AAA ranks.

Having gotten a taste of AAA Midget - where he played as a right winger - Hansen is expecting the transition to the Generals this season won't be too difficult. That familiarity should help him make the jump to the WHL as well.

"It's great to be drafted close to home," Hansen said. "My parents were excited about that too. And with the great new rink coming, that's exciting too.

"Schooling is going to be the same and it's not going to be a big change for me going to the WHL from Midget."

While he's new to playing up front, Truitt is confident in Hansen's abilities.

"He's an offensively gifted player and he adds size to our group," said Truitt.

With the newly renamed Generals hosting the Western Regional championships, Hansen will get a lot of high-level hockey next year.

"I want to learn as much as I can as forward and my main goal is to try to improve as much as I can as a forward," said Hansen.

White led the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League in goal scoring as he bulged the twine 47 times in 26 games and had 69 points. The five-foot-nine right winger played for the Airdrie Xtreme and lives in Balzac, Alta.

Truitt said he didn't want to put too much pressure on White before noting that he reminds him of Jordin Tootoo.

"He scores, hits, he plays with intensity and he has great character," said Truitt. White had been physical all season, but upped the intensity at the Alberta Cup - an all-star zone tournament held at the end of the season.

"I wasn't putting the puck in the net like I wanted to, but I guess all year they saw that I could score, so I tried to throw some checks," said White of his physical play at the Alberta Cup.

Matthew Gourlie can be reached at 691-1257

Organizations: Hansen's, Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Balzac, Alberta

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