Chelios returns to Moose Jaw

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Katie Brickman
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Warriors to honour Moose Jaw Canucks in October

The history of hockey in Western Canada has strong ties to this city.

The Moose Jaw Canucks were one of the founding members of the Western Canada Junior Hockey League (WCJHL), which is now known as the Western Hockey League.

The Moose Jaw Warriors are paying tribute to the Canucks this season with an evening game and former Canuck Chris Chelios will return to drop the ceremonial puck on Oct. 5 when the Vancouver Giants visit Mosaic Place.

The club announced the special event on Wednesday evening at the Heritage Inn, as part of the team’s first town hall meeting.

“It is something we have been working on since the last year in the Civic Centre. We really wanted to do something with the Canucks,” stated Corey Nyhagen, director of business operations for the Warriors. “It would be really nice to bring them back to pay tribute to them in the new building. Just to show them that they paved the way for this to happen in the city. Here is our new building and this is what you have been a part of.”

The Canucks franchise began in 1934 and ended in 1984, but during that time they played in a variety of league, including the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL). In 1966, the Canucks were one of five SJHL clubs that left the join the WCJHL. In the inaugural season, they finished fourth and went on to capture the league championship.

Chelios played with the Canucks from 1979 to 1981, playing 108 games and scoring 131 points. He attended the University of Wisconsin for three seasons before the Montreal Canadiens selected him 40th overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft.

“Chris has been fantastic over the last couple seasons with trying to work something out. He has wanted to come back to Moose Jaw. He wants to see the new building. It was just unfortunate with the timing of his schedule (and) his job,” explained Nyhagen. “This year, it is just fantastic for us to do it on this date. It works for him.”

Chelios played over two decades in the NHL with Montreal, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta. He played 1,651 games, totaling 948 points and 2,891 penalty minutes. He won three Stanley Cups and retired from the league in 2010. He will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 10.

“Chris is without question one of the most notable hockey players to come out of the Moose Jaw program,” said Nyhagen. “We’re excited about his return to the Friendly City and honoured to be able to pay tribute to him as he enters the Hockey Hall of Fame.”

The Warriors will honour Chelios by wearing the Hall of Fame jersey during warm-up of the Oct. 5 game and he will drop the ceremonial puck. During the game, the Warriors will honour the Canucks by wearing special edition jerseys.

“That is the actual jersey that sits in the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame in Swift Current. That is why we decided to go with that one. It is a featured piece that is quite iconic and is sitting in the Hall,” said Nyhagen of the Canucks jersey.

The Chelios jerseys will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Moose Jaw Humane Society. The Canucks jerseys will also be auctioned off with their proceeds going to the Salvation Army’s Adopt-A-Family program.

“This is a unique opportunity with Chelios and the relationships we have with the charities that are near and dear to our heart,” said Warriors general manager, Alan Millar. “These are great announcements and makes for an exciting October.”

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