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Sky’s the lmit for Vernon player, team at Memorial Cup

Cosmo Wilson and the Moose Jaw Warriors won the team’s first-ever Western Hockey League title May 15
Vernon’s Cosmo Wilson lifts the Western Hockey League championship trophy above his head after the Moose Jaw Warriors defeated the Portland Winter Hawks 4-2 on Wednesday, May 15, to sweep the best-of-seven final in four games. Wilson and the Warriors advance to the Memorial Cup championship starting Friday in Saginaw, Mich. (Facebook photo)

Even if he hadn’t been woken up by a reporter from his hometown, Cosmo Wilson would still have been at a loss for words.

The 19-year-old Vernon minor hockey defenceman is still basking in the glory of being a member of the first Moose Jaw Warriors team to win the Western Hockey League’s Ed Chynoweth Cup as league champions.

“It’s pretty surreal,” said Wilson, the morning after a team function, and two days removed from winning the team’s first-ever WHL championship with a 4-2 win over the Portland Winter Hawks. Moose Jaw swept the best-of-seven final 4-0.

“It really hasn’t kicked in yet. I can’t explain it.

“The excitement was unreal. Winning it at home was unreal. My family was at the game and that was unreal.

“Everybody was super excited. The community played a big part in our success this season. The fan support was great.”

Wilson and the Warriors will now represent the WHL at the Memorial Cup in Saginaw, Mich., starting Friday, May 24. They join the Ontario champion London Knights, the host Saginaw Spirit (from the Ontario Hockey League) and the Quebec winners the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Moose Jaw begins play Friday against the host Spirit. They play London on Monday, May 27, and close out the preliminary round Tuesday, May 28, against Drummondville.

Wilson was a seventh round pick of the Warriors in the 2020 Bantam Draft, playing out of Vernon. He made his Warriors debut in 2021-22, appearing in four regular season games and 10 more in the post-season. He’s been a fixture on the Moose Jaw blue line the last two seasons.

Wilson, six-feet, 171 pounds, helped the Warriors finish second in the Eastern Conference in 2023-24, going 44-21-0-3. In the playoffs, Moose Jaw has one regulation loss, and three overtime defeats for a record of 16 wins, four losses.

“This team started to come together right after Christmas,” said Wilson.

“Right now, our confidence level is very high. It’s a great group, and I think we have a pretty good chance to win the whole thing (Memorial Cup).”

Wilson had a goal and 10 assists in the regular season. He appeared in 12 post-season games, failing to register a point.

And the Okanagan kid has been enjoying life in Saskatchewan.

“I love it here,” said Wilson. “Everything about this city revolves around the Moose Jaw Warriors. Everybody knows you around here.”

Off the ice, Wilson stays close to home through his billets, Bart and Courtney Mihalicz. Courtney (née Gillies) spent time in Vernon as a Black Press reporter at The Morning Star in the early 2000s.

“This is our second year with Cosmo,” said Mihalicz. “Our first year billeting we had 20-year-old goaltender Carl Tetachuk. Cosmo was called up to the Warriors that year during the playoffs and stayed with friends of ours. We didn’t get a chance to meet him, but his parents (Taylor and Natalie) just happened to sit beside us at a game and we got talking.

“I found out they were from Vernon, which of course was a plus since I loved my time there, but we also just really enjoyed them and I leaned over to my husband and said, ‘I want their kid next year.’ We made the request to the billet coordinator and that was that.”

And it’s been a big plus for Wilson as well. “They’re amazing,” he said of his billet family, which also includes mini-sticks-playing siblings Brooks and Quinn. “From the moment I walked into their house, they made me feel welcome.”

Mom and dad Wilson hope to be in Michigan for the Memorial Cop.

Wilson – who comes by the name Cosmo through family – also has an older sister, Sydney.

“My parents have played such a big role in my career,” he said.

“My dad was my coach I think right up until peewee. They’ve been my taxi my whole career, driving me to games and tournaments.”

The three league champions – Moose Jaw, London, Drummondville – are the first to meet at the Memorial Cup after sweeping their respective championship series.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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