Popple prepared for opportunity

(Marc Smith/  After a week off from game action, the Moose Jaw Warriors return to the ice on Saturday night to battle the Medicine Hat Tigers at Mosaic Place as they continue their preseason schedule.

The Warriors posted a 2-1-0-0 record during the opening week of the preseason last week, finishing with back-to-back wins over Swift Current and Regina.

They’ve been off since last Saturday however and the team is anxious to get back on the ice to continue working towards the regular season.

“We’ve been focusing on working hard and giving everything you’ve got, everybody is trying to make the team here, so we’re competing and stuff like that,” said 17-year-old forward Tate Popple.

“The last couple of days we’ve been going over the fore check and power play and getting ready in that way too.”

Five players left the Warriors this week to attend NHL rookie camps with two more leaving next week.

With a number of the Warriors’ top players out of the lineup, that will mean more opportunities for younger players, like Popple, who are looking to make the squad this season.

“You’ve just got to embrace the opportunity and show them what you’re capable of and that’s what I’m going to do,” said the Brandon, MB product.

Popple’s best attribute is his motor as he continues to battle for the puck all over the ice and he said he’s been trying to show that through training camp and now into the preseason.

“I like to try and work really hard and hopefully that will give me some chances to put the puck in the net and stuff, but I’m just out there looking to grind and stuff like that,” said Popple.

Popple got the chance to play in eight regular season games last season with the Warriors.  He said that experience has helped him coming into this season as he looks to crack the roster.

“It was nice coming into training camp and knowing everybody and seeing some familiar faces.  That’s a confidence booster more than anything,” said Popple.

“It’s been really fun so far actually, it’s been really hard, but obviously trying to make the team so that’s expected, but I’ve been really enjoying myself so far.”

The Warriors and Tigers hit the ice at 7 p.m. at Mosaic Place on Saturday night.



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