Noah Gregor committed to the Moose Jaw Warriors Friday.
© photo courtesy of the WHL
The Moose Jaw Warriors prospect Noah Gregor.
Now he just has to make the team.
The highly-touted 16-year-old centre signed a standard Western Hockey League player contract Friday afternoon with the Warriors. He will now be available to play when the Warriors begin their pre-season Tuesday night with a rookie game against Swift Current (7 p.m., Mosaic Place).
"I took a little longer than most players to sign, but I'm excited. I think it's definitely the right fit," said Gregor. "As soon as I got traded here, I wanted to play here. My parents wanted to check out Moose Jaw and check out the schools."
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 last season. One of those pick was used to draft Brayden Watts from Bakersfield, Calif. and the other was moved to acquire 20-year-old forward Jaimen Yakubowski from Seattle a week ago.
Gregor and his family took the time to meet with billets and education advisor RoseMary Hartney to learn more about Vanier Collegiate before signing.
"All along the way the dealings with the family were great. We never felt like it was an issue of being in Moose Jaw or the Western Hockey League versus the NCAA. It was just about getting to know the organization and making sure it's the right fit — whether that's at 16 or 17 years of age," said Warriors general manager Alan Millar.
Gregor was the key piece in the Brown trade and locking him up was a key piece of business during training camp.
"Gregor was a big part of that deal, obviously," said Millar. "This allows Noah to concentrate on making the team and being part of what we're going to go through next week. You have to be signed to play in the rookie game Tuesday night and we're going into Regina on Thursday, so we're glad he's going to be part of that lineup and part of the program moving forward."
Gregor led the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League in scoring as a rookie last season. He scored 21 goals and added 30 assists to give him 51 points in 35 games with the Leduc Oil Kings.
"From a hockey perspective, he's a good player. He's a dynamic player. He skates really well. His hockey IQ is really good. I think he has the potential to be a really good player in this league," said Millar.
His strong play earned him an invite to Hockey Canada's under-17 developmental camp at the end of July. He scored twice and had an assist in three games at the camp.
"It was a good experience and a lot of fun too. It was good to see how I ranked against the best players in Canada. I thought I had a good camp and I thought I got progressively better as it went along," said Gregor, a 5-11 product of Beaumont, Alta.
Gregor won't be on the ice Saturday when main camp opens as he tries to rest a minor back and hip flexor injury.
"It's nothing too major, I missed the second half of my second game (Friday) and I'm going to take the day off (Saturday) and hopefully be back on Sunday," said Gregor who added that the injury had been present for about two weeks.