MOOSE JAW, Saskatchewan – The month of May has been quite the ride for the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors and Minnesota Wild prospect Kalem Parker.  Moose Jaw secured their first ever WHL Championship earlier this week, doing so by a 4-0 sweep of the Portland Winterhawks. Parker, a Saskatchewan native, has tallied 9 points (2-7=9) for the Warriors so far in their postseason. The defenseman caught up with on Friday as he gets ready for a run at the 2024 Memorial Cup in Saginaw, Mich. Tell us about Game 4 the other night. What was it like?

Parker: It was a great game. We came out kind of sloppy there at the start. It's all kind of a blackout now trying to think about it, but it was a great game. It was tied two-two in the third period. You had a great feeling going down the home stretch. We got the empty netter with about two minutes left and the crowd went crazy. I think we all knew we had the job finished, so it was a great experience. When we started throwing our gloves and sticks around it was the best feeling of my life. So yeah, it was, it was a great game. What’s it like to hoist up that trophy—and luckily enough—to do it at home?

Parker: Our home support the whole year has been great. I think Moose Jaw has been waiting a really long time for this. It was sweet hoisting the cup and in front of the whole crowd. Something I'll never forget. Did you have family and friends at the game?

Parker: I'm from Saskatoon, so my mom, dad, brother, sister, and girlfriend came to watch the game. They've been supporting me all year. Now that I’m in Moose Jaw instead of Victoria, they get to come to a lot more games. It’s super nice having my family there to support me. We had a lot of pictures being taken after the game with the cup too. Obviously it's a lot easier for your family to drive to Moose Jaw than to try to fly, drive, train, however it would take to get to Victoria. How nice has it been to have them relatively closer to you?

Parker: My family was probably only able to fly out two times a year when I was in Victoria. Once I got that call that I was traded to Moose Jaw, I immediately thought they could come to, like, every game if they really wanted to. Being able to have my family at the rink has been a real comfort for me. I think just knowing that they're there watching me and support me no matter what. So far this year you have eight goals, 45 assists, a +/- of 21. What has allowed you to find success in one of your best seasons yet?

Parker: Playing with really good players around me really has helped me to step up my game. In Victoria, we were a young struggling team for a while. I think I tried to do too much or put myself in some bad positions trying to do too much offensively. Now I play with Denton Mateychuk who was an early first round NHL Draft pick (CBJ). Playing with him comforted me with trying to, you know, make plays with him and not trying to do everything by myself. Overall we have unbelievable players. Savoie (BUF), Firkus (SEA), Yager (PIT), Mateychuk (CBJ), Rysavy (CBJ)--all those guys are NHL Draft guys--so I think being able to play with them really upped my game too. We’re a little over a month from the 2024 NHL Draft. What do you remember about your Draft Day in 2023?

Parker: I was working a little landscaping job that I do with my buddies back home in Saskatoon. I stopped working, was about to drive over to a training session for skate. I got a call from my agent first saying “Minnesota's gonna pick you with their next round pick.” I hung up the phone with my agent, kind of took a deep breath and tried to take it all in. Then Brad Bombardir called and said I was drafted by the Minnesota Wild and congratulated me on that. That night I hung out with my family friends and, uh, just tried to experience the best I could after getting drafted with the ones who are closest to me. What do you remember about Development Camp last year? What were your takeaways from that?

Parker: Experiencing, obviously, the sweet practice facility they have there, and just seeing how an NHL team operates with workouts and skates. I know it's not exactly the same as, you know, a regular season in Minnesota, but experiencing how they treat the players with respect and stuff like that. And just all the little tips and stuff you get on the ice when you're practicing and training with the NHL guys. It's crazy. Rookie camp was a huge eye opener too. You’re training with NHL guys that have been in the NHL for five or six years. For Minnesotans who might not be familiar with the Memorial Cup, can you explain how it works?

Parker: The Memorial Cup is a round robin style tournament with the winners from the WHL, the QMJHL, and OHL. And there is also the team from the town that is hosting the tournament. Is the Memorial Cup a big deal in Canada?

Parker: Oh, absolutely. I think it has huge bragging rights. Especially for Moose Jaw who has never been to the Memorial Cup. For Moose Jaw, for [my hometown] for Canada really. I think it's huge to win it. How tough do you think that competition is going be between the four teams there?

Parker: Yeah, it's gonna be the hardest competition we've seen all year. It’s obviously the best team from every league. It’s going to be an absolute grind to win those games, but I think we have the group confidence. We have a good chance of getting it done. What would it mean for you personally to hoist that Memorial Cup trophy up in the air?

Parker: Yeah, it'd be surreal. Winning one trophy in the year is obviously pretty special. I think winning two would be icing on the cake for me and the team.

Kalem Parker is part of the Minnesota Wild’s 2023 NHL Draft Class. He was drafted in the sixth round (181st overall).

Parker and Moose Jaw lead off the 2024 Memorial Cup when they face host-team Saginaw on Friday, May 24. The Spirit also feature a Minnesota Wild prospect—2022 second rounder (47th overall) Hunter Haight.

Games continue up until the semifinals on May 29 and the Memorial Cup final on June 2.