(Marc Smith/DiscoverMooseJaw.com) Get your toque and gloves ready because the Moose Jaw Warriors and Regina Pats are heading outdoors.
The two storied rivals will meet in the Outdoor Classic on Feb. 18 at Mosaic Stadium as part of the Pats’ Centennial Salute Homecoming Weekend.
“It’s a once in a lifetime thing for our players — these things are special for NHL players, never mind 16, 17, 18, 19-year-old kids,” said Warriors general manager Alan Millar after the announcement.
The events will be happening over the Family Day long weekend in Feb. and will also see the 34,000-seat stadium host an NHL/WHL alumni game that will include 50 former NHL greats on Saturday, Feb. 17.
The Warriors and Pats will follow on the Sunday in the first outdoor game for the Moose Jaw organization.
“We’re thrilled to be part of it,” said Millar. “It will be real special for our players, geography is what it is for our fans to be a big part of it, we can have a lot of fun with it. We’re real excited to play in this historic game.”
The Pats are celebrating their 100th anniversary this season and will be hosting the 100th Memorial Cup in May in conjunction with the coinciding centennials.
For the historic event at Mosaic Stadium, the Pats will work with BaAM Productions, who have handled the production of all four NHL Heritage Classic events, which will ensure top notch ice conditions for the weekend and a world class show for the fans.
“In this venue, the stadium that everyone in this province loves so much, to bring a hockey game in here is going to be an incredible event,” said Regina Pats’ president Todd Lumbard.
“I have great confidence in the group that we have putting this on that it’s going to be very well done. It’s going to be important that this is done right because we want all the players to have a chance to play good hockey and entertain the fans and hopefully for us to get two points out of it.”
The game come at the end of a stretch that will see the Warriors and Pats meet three times in five days. It will be right in the thick of the playoff race with both teams expected to be in the running for the East Division title, the two points will be very important.
Millar said they had no concerns about the game quality for such an important contest.
“We knew with the new ownership group of the Pats and what Mr. (Shaun) Semple has done with his committee here in putting this all together that it would be done right,” said Millar.
“We realize that its an important game and those are going to be an important two points on the board, but the reality is that whatever the conditions, it’s going to be the same for both teams.”
Millar added that the Warriors will hopefully be able to get on the ice on the day before the game to allow the players to get acclimatized to their surroundings.
The alumni game will include Moose Jaw product Clark Gillies as a coach, as well as fellow Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Bryan Trottier, Bernie Federko, Grant Fuhr, Wendel Clark and Scott Niedermayer.
Rogers’ Hometown Hockey, which was in Moose Jaw earlier this year, will be on hand throughout the weekend as well.
Ticket details for the weekend will be released at a later date.