The national hockey spotlight is shines on Moose Jaw tonight as the final game of the Subway Super Series comes to the Friendly City.
The Canadian Hockey League leads the six game series against Russia 3-2 after team WHL posted a 5-2 win last night in Russia.
There will be changes to the WHL's roster, among them is the addition of Moose Jaw Warriors Quinton Howden, Dylan McIlrath, Joel Edmundson, and Cody Beach.
Yesterday Quinton Howden was named the captain for Team WHL for tonight's game. He's a veteran of the series, as this will be his third time playing in the Subway Super Series, and he had some advice for his Warrior teammates.
"I told them to just out there and play their game. They're all key players on our team (Warriors), but they may have to play different roles when it comes to here. Just play solid and they should be fine."
Howden says that when you have the WHL's best players on ice, you can expect the pace of the game to pick up. "It's exciting for the crowd to be able to experience it, they've never seen something like this, I've witnessed it first hand."
"You play against every teams and top players and top lines, but when you put them all together it's a high paced game, it's a high paced game," added Howden.
This will be Moose Jaw's first chance to see the Russians live, and Howden explains what you can expect. "They're fast, real fast. They like to dangle and use their hands, they all have good hands. They like to sneak in behind you, they try to kind of hide and find the open areas. We're lucky to have games five and six because our coaches will kind of know some of their tendencies."
This is Dylan McIlrath's first appearance in the Subway Super Series, and he says he plans on playing physical. "I'm going to try too, it's how I play here and I'm not going to change. Team Canada is always looking for guys that can lay the body in a big tournament like this, so I'm going to try and do my best."
McIlrath last played international hockey at the junior level three years ago when he played at the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge. However, he says he's familiar with the European style.
"I got a little taste of it playing overseas (with the NY Rangers during the pre season). The European game is about speed and skill, you have to match sure your gaps are good and keep the guys to the outside. They're dangerous when they get in tight and start dangling, I just want to play the body I guess."
Playing in the Subway Super Series is a special opportunity for all the guys involved, but McIlrath adds that it's also great for the city of Moose Jaw.
"It's fantastic, it all starts with the new building and just a new era for Moose Jaw. They're really passionate about their hockey here and it's going to be great for the fans to see this Russian team come with a different style of hockey. It certainly creates a buzz around the city which is really nice."
On Wednesday the WHL announced that not only will Howden be the captain, but McIlrath will serve as an assistant captain.