Moose Jaw Warriors retire Ryan Smyth’s number
MOOSE JAW, Sask. – The Moose Jaw Warriors hockey club raised former NHL star Ryan Smyth’s jersey to the rafters on Friday. It’s been two decades since Smyth, now 38, played for Western Hockey League (WHL) team in Saskatchewan.
Around 4,400 fans packed the house at Mosaic Place to see Smyth’s number 28 retired during a heart-warming ceremony. He is the fourth member of the Warriors’ alumni to have his jersey raised to the rafters, along with Theo Fleury, Mike Keane and Kelly Buchberger.
“As I vision it, I think watching it go up and I look at those three other ones that are up there, you know, guys that would do anything for their teams and that’s what you try to represent as a person in life and not only in the game of hockey,” said Smyth.
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Smyth moved from his hometown of Banff, Alta. to Saskatchewan to play 188 games for the Warriors over three seasons in the early to mid-1990s.
“Looking back at the three years that I played here, I don’t regret anything that has come about being a Warrior and I had some great coaches, great teammates and it’s something I’ll cherish forever,” said Smyth.
“It’s a great stepping stone to make yourself into an NHL player in the Western Hockey League and I was fortunate enough to be a Warrior.”
He was chosen sixth overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1994 NHL entry draft.
After leaving Saskatchewan, Smyth really made a name for himself, “Captain Canada,” as he starred in 1,270 regular season games in the National Hockey League, mostly for the Oilers.
He went on to win the Spengler Cup in 2012 and a gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Smyth announced his retirement from the NHL in April 2014.
But the former Warrior was back in Moose Jaw Friday with his family to see his number lifted to the rafters.
“Just mixed emotions because the career’s on the end side of it, but very humbling and honoured to be in a situation that’s happening tonight,” said Smyth.
The Warriors went on the play the Spokane Chiefs Friday, losing 3-2.