Gregor makes a strong first impression

Matthew Gourlie
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The Moose Jaw Warriors were excited about Noah Gregor's potential when they acquired him in January.

Noah Gregor carries the puck up ice at the Moose Jaw Warriors prospects camp Friday in Caronport.

The team's feelings didn't diminish any when Gregor stepped onto the ice for the first time in Warriors colours at the team's prospects camp in Caronport Friday.

"I'm pretty impressed. There's a lot to like," said Warriors head coach Mike Stothers. When asked what stood out about Gregor, Stothers said: "Speed. Skill. Do you want me to keep going?"

Gregor was acquired from Victoria along with a pair of third round picks in exchange for 19-year-old defenceman Travis Brown shortly before the WHL trade deadline.

"It was pretty surprising. I didn't expect to get traded," said Gregor. "I was pretty excited once I heard the city from a lot of guys who players here."

Gregor said he and his dad talked from some past players and their parents about Moose Jaw.

"My dad knows (Edmonton Oil Kings head coach) Derek Laxdal. My uncle knows (former Warrior) Brian Sutherby," explained Gregor.

The 16-year-old led the Alberta Midget Hockey League in scoring as a rookie. He scored 21 goals and added 30 assists to give him 51 points in 35 games with the Leduc Oil Kings.

"At the start of the year I wasn't planning on doing as well as I did," said Gregor. "I wasn't sure how it would go, but fortunately it went really good. About halfway through the season I felt like I knew I could play there and had a shot at the (scoring title)."

The Warriors scouts and general manager Alan Millar liked his game and travelled to watch Gregor a few times before making the trade with Victoria. On his first viewing, Stothers feels Gregor made a pretty good first impression.

"He's definitely a talented individual and you can see that already. I'm looking forward to seeing him in the scrimmages," said Stothers. "I think Noah has the tools to be a pretty impressive young man."

Unlike most of the Warriors high-end prospects, Gregor hasn't signed a WHL standard player contract. When asked about his plans for next season, he said he plans to be at main camp with an eye towards making the Warriors.

"I want to get better over the summer, make a good impression at this camp and come back to main camp and try to make the team," said Gregor. "I'm going to come and see what happens and do my best."

While it was Gregor's first chance to impress his new coaches it was also his first chance to meet his future Warrirors teammates.

"It was a lot of fun, it was nice to get back on the ice. It has been awhile," said Gregor who skated with Brett Howden and praised the Warriors' first pick from a year ago. "He's a good player. It's the first time I got to see him or skate with him. I think some of the younger '99s that just got drafted are pretty good too."

It was only a practice, but Gregor, Howden and Jayden Halbgewachs all showed off their scoring touch.

Stothers was happy with the opening day, but is really looking forward to Saturday's scrimmages (11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Barkman Arena, Caronport) to see how the players react in more game-like situations.

"It's hard to just base it off of a practice, but you can see there is some skill and talent. I'm really anxious to see them in the scrimmages where they have to read things and sort things out and show a little bit of hockey sense," said the Warriors head coach.

Organizations: Alberta Midget Hockey League, Leduc Oil Kings

Geographic location: Caronport, Victoria, Moose Jaw Edmonton

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