Chris Armstrong came to his first camp in Moose Jaw at the age of 13 and he has been a Warrior ever since.
“We had a list of other camps to go to and I remember it clearly, [Lorne Molleken] said, ‘You don’t have to worry about going to those other camps, you’re a Warrior now,'” described Armstrong, who would go on to play 240 games in a Warrior jersey.
“It was one of the proudest things that I played my entire career with Moose Jaw.”
Armstrong will be inducted into the Conexus Warriors and Legends Hall of Fame coming up on Friday night, joining Harlan Anderson and Lorne Humphreys as this year’s inductees.
“It’s a phone call that I honestly never expected, it’s very exciting and extremely humbling,” Armstrong said.
“You never get into playing any type of team sport looking for individual recognition or honours, it was just never something that crossed my mind, I truly never expected it.”
From Regina, Armstrong made his Warriors debut in the 1991-92 season and finished his WHL ranked third all-time in scoring by a defenceman in franchise history with 192 points (41 goals and 151 assists).
Armstrong posted some big numbers from the back-end in his final two seasons with the Warriors, posting 55 assists and 68 points while being named a WHL first-team all-star and CHL second-team all-star in 1993-94, and then in 1994-95, he finished with career highs in goals (17) and points (71).
“I played with some really good players, we had a pretty strong connection through the years, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to play a lot of minutes and get an opportunity to play in a situation where I could put up numbers,” Armstrong said.
The 1993-94 season was memorable for another reason as Armstrong had the honour of representing Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship, winning the gold medal.
“It’s such a special experience and you can’t take it for granted,” Armstrong said.
Following his time with the Warriors, Armstrong would go on to be selected in the third round, 57th overall, by the Florida Panthers in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. He played 488 games in the American Hockey League, finishing with 63 goals and 294 points.
Armstrong ended up playing 17 seasons of professional hockey, including seven games in the NHL with the Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks.
He says playing in Moose Jaw helped prepare him for making the jump to pro hockey and life after hockey.
“It’s such a communal organization, you have people that are involved in making sure we’re not missing anything when it comes to education with the hours that we spend away from school throughout the season,” Armstrong said.
“You’ve got the support of the community behind you, whatever is needed, there are people there that are more than willing to step in and help when needed, it helped establish building blocks for me to rely on as you take the next step.
“You leave home so young at 15-16, you still have some support with billet families like Devon and Ginger [Oleniuk], it just helps put everything in place when for you take the next step when you really get out on your own and I was very well positioned for that from my time in Moose Jaw.”
Chris currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with his family where he is a Community Sales Manager for Smith Douglas Homes.
The Warriors and Legends Hall of Fame banquet is Friday night at Mosaic Place. The inductees will also be honoured on Saturday before the Warriors take on the Saskatoon Blades.