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Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman Ziprick talks off-season, what’s ahead, and THAT golf shot

Hole-in-one during Warriors Alumni Golf Tournament just another highlight in a string of many for 18-year-old defenceman as 2024-25 season nears
ziprick-hole-in-one
Aiden Ziprick became the latest to hit a hole-in-one at the Moose Jaw Warriors Alumni Golf Tournament, acing the Par 3 sixth hole on Friday afternoon.

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM -- With all the winning and success the Moose Jaw Warriors and defenceman Aiden Ziprick have been a part of over the past year, it’s hard to imagine things could get even better.

But that was the case for the 18-year-old defenceman during the Warriors Alumni Golf Tournament on Friday afternoon.

Ziprick knocked down a hole-in-one on the 175-yard sixth hole during the event, becoming the second player to record an ace in the education fund charity tournament.

“I thought it was short, actually, then I showed up to the hole and my two partners were screaming, so to see that was pretty special,” a beaming Ziprick told the Warriors’ Marc Smith on the course shortly after making the shot. “I couldn’t pick a better time to do it, we needed that one.”

Ziprick’s ace is the second in the last three years at the event, after former Warrior Tate Popple accomplished the feat during the 2022 event.

There wasn’t a whole lot of time between the end of the season for the 2023-24 Warriors and the Alumni Tournament, thanks of course to their Western Hockey League championship win and appearance in the Memorial Cup.

With barely a month off since their appearance at the national major junior hockey championship, the off-season has been short to this point, but the calendar is quickly turning over to the upcoming campaign.

“It’s definitely a short off-season, but it’s worth it,” Ziprick said prior to hitting the course on Friday morning. “Going all the way and winning a championship with these guys is something all of us will remember forever, so we’ve been enjoying this off-season a little bit and then it’s get ready to go.

“We’ve got a big one next year, a lot of guys won’t be back so other guys will have to step up and I think we’re all looking forward to it.”

As one might expect, it’ll be a different feel around the team when training camp opens at the beginning of September -- for 40 years, the Warriors had chased a WHL title, and now that they have the first in franchise history, firing up a potential repeat feels like a much different scenario.

“Obviously the goal every year is to win a championship, so we know we need to step up and push ourselves,” Ziprick said. “We know what it takes to be champions and with the guys coming back and especially the younger guys, we’ll have to show them what it takes to be a champion and that’s what we’re looking forward to doing.”

Ziprick himself can tell you all about coming up big in an important championship situation. Despite scoring only once in the regular season, he scored the game-winning goal in the final minutes of the Warriors’ Memorial Cup round robin game with the Drummondville Voltigeurs, sending Moose Jaw into the tournament semifinal.

It was a huge moment in a playoff run chock full of them, with Ziprick admitting that even now it’s hard to believe they pulled it off.

“It’s still hard to even think about,” he said with a huge grin. “The run we had and beating the teams we beat, I think it’s something a lot of people didn’t expect, but in our minds we always knew we could do it. But it’s still a surreal feeling, and it’s pretty special.”

Time marches on, though, and the Warriors are a little under two months away from their first exhibition game on Sept. 6 against the Regina Pats in Estevan. That’s two months to completely flip the page and begin their defence of the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

“I don’t think anything changes when it comes to preparation or getting ready or anything like that,” Ziprick said. “A lot of guys are going to get new opportunities, we have to take advantage of that and carry one with what the top guys gave us last year. I think they brought a lot of leadership and kind of high-end characteristics that can be taken for granted sometimes. So it’s just come back, be ready to go and play as well as we can.”

The fact Ziprick, many of his teammates and a host of past Warriors were in town for the weekend was for a good cause, as the event once against raised over $100,000 for the Warriors education fund.

“It’s really cool. This is my first time having a chance to play in it and experience it all, the event last night was pretty special and it just shows how dedicated the Moose Jaw community is to the team,” Zipriick said. “That’s what they did all year for us last year and it ultimately led to a championship, so it’s always great to have that kind of support.”

Be sure to keep an eye on Warriors social media and www.mjwarriors.ca for up-to-date info on the 2024-25 campaign.