The Wolves have some mojo entering the Calder Cup Finals.
Well, more accurately, MoJo.
On April 13, Wolves star Andrew Poturalski and his wife, Haley, welcomed their first child, a son named Morrison John. The Poturalski family has taken to calling the newborn MoJo, and the Wolves haven’t lost a game he has attended at Allstate Arena.
“He’s brought some good mojo since he’s come to games,” Andrew Poturalski said. “We’re undefeated [at home] since he’s been at the games [in Rosemont]. It’s just awesome to have him there. We’ve got some cool pictures, and it’s definitely really special. It’ll also be really cool when he’s a little older and can appreciate it.”
Sunday will be Poturalski’s first Father’s Day as a dad, and his family will spend at least a part of it in Rosemont for Game 1 of the AHL’s Calder Cup Finals against the Springfield Thunderbirds. The Wolves, who had the best points percentage in the league during the regular season, have home-ice advantage in the series with a 2-3-2 format.
Poturalski, who had 28 goals and 73 assists, is trying to relish this moment.
“Right now, we’re super fortunate in our lives and life is pretty good, and we’ve got a lot of good things going for us,” Poturalski said. “I think people don’t appreciate stuff when you’re in the moment. It’s such a cool time in our lives, and you never know if you’re going to be back in a spot like this in the Calder Cup [Finals], so you’ve got to make the most of it as well.”
Poturalski and the Wolves have plenty of other things to enjoy.
With a roster loaded up by parent-club Carolina, the Wolves went 50-16-5-5 and cruised to a division title. Then in the playoffs, they swept the IceHogs in three games before dispatching Milwaukee in four.
The Wolves jumped ahead of the Stockton Heat 3-0 in the Western Conference finals and seemed primed for another short series. But Stockton responded with a pair of overtime wins, forcing a Game 6 in Rosemont which the Wolves won to finally put away the Heat.
“I thought that was a good thing to go through some adversity, to do it on the road, to be together and to kind of feel it and experience it all together,” coach Ryan Warsofsky said. “I think that’s all part of our journey and part of our story, is you need to go through some tough times, some tough losses, just so when you get back to certain situations you kind of understand the emotion and roller-coaster of the playoffs.”
The league itself also has gone through trying times.
For the first time since 2019 when Poturalski and Warsofsky, then a Charlotte assistant, beat the Wolves for the championship, the AHL is holding the Calder Cup Finals. The 2019-20 season was abandoned due to the pandemic and the 2020-21 campaign didn’t feature a complete postseason.
The Wolves know that if this series goes the distance, they’ll have home ice. Not that Poturalski wants the Cup to come down to a winner-take-all match, even if they have MoJo on their side.
“We’re hoping it doesn’t get to seven for sure,” a laughing Poturalski said.