New Americans add to Warriors' Arizona pipeline

Matthew Gourlie
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The two Moose Jaw Warriors draft picks who travelled the farthest may be the most comfortable at the team's annual prospects camp.

Brayden Watts and Patrick Rush had to pack their passports to come to Moose Jaw, but the two Americans are surrounded by plenty of friendly faces. The pair are amongst a group of five members of the Arizona Bobcats 98 AAAs who will be taking part in prospects camp this weekend.

Watts was the Warriors third round pick this year and Rush was taken in the ninth round. They're joined by last year's seventh round picks Blake Bargar and Jake Garman, plus listed player Rourke Russell who is also attending his first Warriors camp.

Rush said he talked to Bargar and Garman about what camp would be like

"They gave me some tips about to do and what not to do," said Rush. "They said you have to play your game. 'Do good.' is basically what they said."

Watts was the second item on his local sportscast when he was drafted. He admitted that he didn't expect to get drafted as high as he did, but he is looking forward to the challenge of playing against older players in his first WHL camp.

"I know it's going to be a hard camp, so I'm just trying to prepare as well as I can for it," said Watts who added that his teammates told him to "not be nervous at all and just work as hard as you can."

The irony is that none of the Bobcats are actually from Arizona. Rush and Garman are from Anchorage, Alaska and Watts is from Bakersfield, Calif. Bargar and Russell are from southern California.

Rush said the coaching in Arizona was what led to him heading south. The Bobcats head coach is Ron Filion, a former QMJHL forward in the 1980s who played junior with Claude Lemieux and Jimmy Carson.

"Ron is a great coach. It was the coach that brought me down there," said Rush who noted that the strengths of his game are his on-ice vision and his physical play.

Watts agreed and said everything about his time in Arizona was great.

"It was amazing. My coach was unreal. He taught me so much, it was crazy. Everyone around there, the billets, everyone, were great," said Watts.

Moving from home at 14 can't be easy, but Rush had no complaints.

"It was a blast actually. It was the best year of my life," he said.



Organizations: Arizona Bobcats 98 AAAs

Geographic location: Arizona, Moose Jaw, Anchorage, Alaska Bakersfield, Calif. Southern California.Rush

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