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Wagner’s impact on Warriors remembered

(Courtesy Marc Smith)  If you’ve ever been to a Moose Jaw Warriors’ game, chances are that you’ve met Shirley Wagner.

The original Booster Club member helped out around the team from day one of the organization here in Moose Jaw and continued to do that through this past season.

Wagner died over the weekend at the age of 89.

“She was in charge from day one, she was feisty and Shirley was the boss,” said Randy Nesvold, current Booster Club president.  “The boys were a big part of her life, they were her adopted grandsons, so she’s definitely going to be missed.”

In the early years of the Warriors’ organization, the Booster Club played a big part in keeping the club running from year-to-year as they provided fundraising, meals for the players at training camp and much more.

Wagner was front-and-centre in those efforts since 1984 as she served as Booster Club president and worked just about every other role available within the group.

“She’s done camps for the boys, she’d go around and solicited business to get all the food to feed the team,” said Nesvold.  “When I came became president, she started storing it in my garage as soon as April hit to get ready for camp for next year.

“I’d talk to Shirley almost weekly, once the offseason came she’d always be looking for something to do and would call asking, ‘are we doing this or that?’  The team was very big in her life and her family knew that the Warriors were her second family.”

The efforts that Wagner made for the team wasn’t lost on the players throughout the years either.

“The impact that she had on myself and everybody that’s got to know her, she was always that friendly face who was around and genuinely concerned about how you were doing,” said Derek Kletzel, a Warriors & Legends Hall of Fame inductee, who played for the team from 1989-92.

“For myself, coming to a new city and not really knowing a whole lot of people and I remember standing in line for that first meal, it wasn’t a matter of Shirley just putting food on your plate, she had questions for you and just made you feel welcomed and at home,” added Kletzel.  “There’s so many of those people involved in the Booster Club, but Shirley really set the standard from day one.”

Wagner along with the entire Booster Club were inducted into the Warriors and Legends Hall of Fame in 2010 as the organization honoured the impact that they’ve had throughout the years.

“When Ryan Smyth had his jersey retired, he made a point to bring his kids around and introduce them to Shirley,” said Nesvold.  “When Theoren Fleury came back, same thing, he had to get a picture with Shirley.”

Wagner and Fred Huber were the only two original members of the Booster Club that were still helping with the organization during this past season.

“She never watched the games, she’d just do things, fundraise, she knitted blankets and had raffles and went around to every business to get whatever she could if we were doing a barbecue, she was pretty involved in everything the Booster Club would do,” said Nesvold.

A private family service was held for Wagner and the family asks that any expression of sympathy donations be made in Shirley’s name to the Booster Club.

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