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Brotherly rivalry set for WHL’s Eastern Conference Final between Atley, Rowan Calvert

As Saskatoon Blades forward Rowan Calvert prepares for the biggest series of his WHL career so far, he’s been in contact with his parents in Moose Jaw about what type of cheering section he and his brother Atley Calvert can expect.

“I was talking to my dad and he just said, ‘We won’t really be cheering too loud for either team,’” said Rowan. ” If one of us scores they’ll be pretty excited, but I think they’re pretty excited as well that we’re both at this stage.”

“They said they’re not cheering for a team, but I don’t know if that’s just to make me feel better or what?”

For decades the Calvert name has been synonymous with Moose Jaw Warriors hockey, but starting this week that will be put to the test as Atley and Rowan will square off in the WHL’s Eastern Conference Final.

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Rowan has made the third round of WHL playoffs for the second consecutive season, however this year’s he’s played a major part in the team’s success as a top-nine forward with the Saskatoon Blades.

Meanwhile, Atley is in the midst of his final junior season wearing an ‘A’ on his sweater representing his hometown Warriors squad.

Click to play video: 'Rested Saskatoon Blades squad ready to face Moose Jaw in all-Saskatchewan Eastern Final'

Rested Saskatoon Blades squad ready to face Moose Jaw in all-Saskatchewan Eastern Final

The same team which he and Rowan’s grandfather had season tickets to at the old ‘Crushed Can.’

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“Playing for your hometown team is basically a dream come true,” said Atley. “I know my grandpa, he’d be real proud of me and my brother here and playing against each other for a chance to go to the final.”

Rowan’s path took him a bit further north to Saskatoon as a Blades pick in the 2020 WHL Draft, a market which has quickly become home for the 18-year-old.

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“Me and my brother always dreamed about playing for the Warriors,” said Rowan. “He got his chance and I’m a Blade, super happy that I’m a Blade. I’m grateful to be here and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

The Blades have been the beneficiary of a breakout season for the younger Calvert, who recorded career highs this year with 10 goals and 25 points while also chipping in a pair of timely goals for Saskatoon in games 3 and 4 against the Red Deer Rebels to advance to the East Final.

As for Atley, he exploded in his final season with the Warriors to finish second in team scoring with 47 goals and 95 points in 68 games.

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The pair have shared the same name and number 23 on their jerseys over the years, but when it comes to barbs exchanged before the series it’s been fairly quiet for the brothers.

“We talk about hockey a little bit,” said Atley. “But when we talk it’s mostly about off the ice and how each other are doing for the most part.”

According to Rowan, the chirping is usually reserved for the golf course and is hopeful his brother will be the one getting an early start on his short game following the series.

“I hope he gets a little bit more practice before I hit the course for sure,” said Rowan.

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Asked about his younger sibling’s comments at Moose Jaw practice, Atley had a good laugh.

“Well I’m definitely the better golfer,” said Atley. “But we’ll see about that, we’ll leave that one to the ice.”

It’s expected to be an even matchup between the Calvert siblings, as the Blades and Warriors split their six games throughout the regular season with three wins each.

While only one brother will be moving on to play for a WHL championship, both Calverts say they’re excited for the opportunity to face off at the junior level one last time.

In the same city where they grew up and discovered the game together.

“I always couldn’t help but compare myself to him,” said Rowan. “He was kind of like my role model growing up, he still is. Being the little brother is not always the easiest just because you got to live up to what he did. He did this at this age and you can think that way, however it may be.

“But it’s super cool to have a role model like him to lean on.”

Saskatoon hosts Game 1 of the series at SaskTel Centre on Friday night with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop.

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