I find it interesting you think it means 'Wardens' as in the Warden philosophy. I think it means the Clans are Wardens of the Star League.
Here's another (early) Clan Wolf Rememberance quote:
" For the day will come and our kin will stand
On Terra's firm soil, ready to rebuilt
The Star League with their hearts and hands.
But who shall lead? Upon whose shoulders
Will the burden lie? The answer is the test; The test is the journey. Whichever Clan
Carves its way through the barbarians
To reach that fabled cradle of us all
Shall be the vehicle of the League's rebirth. Upon
The Star League throne shall sit that Clan's
Wisest Khan. So should it be - So shall it be. ”
-- The Remembrance, Passage 72, Verse 22, Lines 14-24
Also taken from Sarna. It's from the Clan Wolf sourcebook.
It's one of the earliest passages too- Before the Annihilation of the Wolverines (149) and the Founder's death (154).
In other words, Nick wasn't dead yet- let alone gone long enough for the Crusader/Warden camps to evolve into what they were in 3050.
I highlighted the portion that quite clearly points to Clan Wolf believing they were destined to invade the Inner Sphere, take Terra, and its Khan to become the new First Lord.
As for being predominatly Warden until the end of the Refusal War, that isn't quite correct. Crusader elements within Wolf well before the Refusal War- Phelan's exploits throughout the "Blood of Kerensky" trilogy are against the Crusaders. The saKhan during the invasion, Garth Raddick was a Crusader for example and was Ulric's foil. Natasha had Conal Ward (another Crusader) and Phelan had, of course, Vlad (A Crusader Ristar).
The Crusaders outnumbered the Wardens with the Truce of Tukayyid in '52- this has been printed in numerous books since the early 90s (The Refusal War arc ended in 1995). Even newer books reference this- the Linerbacker and Phantom entries in TRO:3055U note the stiff competition the Wolf's Khans (Natasha and Phelan) were facing.
The Clan was Crusader, but the leadership was Warden. It's why Ulric launched the Refusal War to kill them off- I went off on a tangant with Morgan in another thread here
The Crusaders outnumbered the Wardens after Turkayyid in '52- this was due to the fact that by the time the Invasion was over, the current Wolves would be too old to fight the Inner Sphere- a new generation would have replaced them. The majority of the new Wolf warriors were swayed to the Crusader camp behind Vlad.
They were strictly loyal to the Clan first, but Crusaders second. They've been called 'neo-crusaders'
As I said, Clan Wolf has been predominantly Crusader in both lower ranks and the leadership for the past 17 years (1995 + 17 = 2012). Wolf remains Crusader throughout the Jihad and the Dark Age Era, when Clan Wolf relocates to the former Free World's League and creates the 'Wolf Empire' faction around 3138-3139 under Khan Alaric Ward. That's 81-82 years in game that's passed since Vlad became Khan.
In about a year from now, CGL will be jumping the Battletech timeline from 3140 to 3150. Unless the Wolf Empire somehow suddenly becomes 'Warden' in those 10 years, it will have been nearly a century that Wolf has been predominantly Crusader. Both in the lower ranks and the leadership.
Here's a question for you, as you seem quite involved with the Warden philosophy. The Warden's take is that the Clans were supposed to remain hidden from the Inner Sphere until they are asked to return and help them build the Star League.
If the Inner Sphere beat itself back to the stoneage, like it was commonly believed by the Clans (and, in fact, was) then how are they supposed to come looking for the Clans for help? By that point, they'd already have recovered from the Succession Wars, and wouldn't be so focused on killing eachother. It's unlikely they'd need the Clans at all.
In fact, they very well may have reformed the Star League on their own by the time they explored out far enough to run into the Clans.
So does the Warden philosophy really just boil down to waiting in the Pentagon Cluster in case aliens come along?
And how do you justify Operation Klondike- where the Clans forcibly returned to the Pentagon Worlds. It was a mini Invasion, essentially. Each Clan participated, and at the same time competed with eachother. Only instead of becoming ilClan and reforming the Star League, they were competing for the Founder's genetic legacies and to bring peace to the Pentagon Worlds.
The Warden philosophy just doesn't make any sense when you get down to it.