(Courtesy Marc Smith) The Moose Jaw Warriors made a popular move at the WHL Trade Deadline when they brought in hometown boy Branden Klatt in a deal with the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Klatt was in his second Western Hockey League season and flourished after joining up with his hometown Warriors for the second half of the season.
“It was pretty surreal playing for the Warriors, just being out there in front of a lot of people that you know and getting to do lots of things that you see when you’re growing up,” said Klatt. “Playing for the Tribe was pretty cool.”
After posting four goals and nine points in 41 games with the Oil Kings, Klatt took on a key checking role on the Warriors’ third line during the second.
He was able to chip in with some timely offence as well, finishing with three goals and 13 points in 30 games, upping his point per game total from 0.22 with Edmonton to 0.43 with the Warriors.
Klatt said he really enjoyed the role that he was put in by the Warriors, “I definitely grew as a player here,” he said.
Klatt continued to play a hard game in the Warriors’ first round playoff series with the Swift Current Broncos, registering one goal and two points in seven games.
He said it was a big change from the four games he played with Edmonton in the 2016 WHL Playoffs.
“I learned a lot more about what playoff hockey is all about,” he said. “I played in the playoffs last year, but didn’t really play, so it’s pretty cool to grow and learn, it was exciting.
“The playoffs are a whole different game.”
The Warriors didn’t have the playoff run that they were hoping for, losing out in seven games to the Broncos. Klatt feels they will be able to learn from that loss and use it going into the 2017-18 season.
“It’s going to be in the back of our minds throughout the offseason, we won’t dwell on it, but learn from it and let it fuel us,” said Klatt. “It’s going to be there for sure, especially next year when we’re in these same situations, we’re going to remember how it felt and what happened this year.”
With a new role on a new team heading into the offseason, Klatt is alerady looking forward to getting back on the ice already and helping the Warriors chase down a championship in 2018.
He said he has a few areas of his game that he plans on working on over the summer.
“I want to gain a little bit of weight and get a little bigger, but also work on my puck skills and try to score some more,” he said. “You see how important every goal is in the playoffs and hopefully I can help a bit more next year.”