Coming into the 2019-20 season, the Winnipeg Blues saw a change in ownership, new colours, an updated logo and a completely new coaching staff.
Along with those changes came a large roster turnover. With expectations that there could be some growing pains for the youthful lineup from Winnipeg, came a chance to prove the naysayers wrong.
“Our big thing all year long was turn heads and prove we belong here,” shared Blues Captain, Brayden Foreman. “We were counted out from the start of the year, no one thought we would do anything with such a young team we brought in.”
“We made a trade for Mitchell Joss and him and Mikol Sartor were unbelievable for us last year. The last fifteen games of the year we were twelve or fourteen points out and Selkirk started to lose. We realized we really have an opportunity to make some noise. Getting those games and experience in the playoffs was huge for our young guys.”
Turn heads they did. Foreman and his Blues squad put together an impressive string of games down the stretch drive and beat the Selkirk Steelers in back-to-back games overtime contests to put the Blues in the eighth and final playoff spot.
While their season ended shortly before the league-wide shutdown after being swept by the Steinbach Pistons in the opening round of the playoffs, Foreman has stayed busy this summer and has been anxiously waiting for the puck to drop on a new season.
“It started slow but once everything started opening up I got a job at the rink and I’ve been working out and skating there every day. I’ve been pretty occupied so it’s been good for sure.”
“It’s something on my mind every day, I think a lot of our guys are really anxious to get started. I’ve been skating with a lot of my teammates over the summer and we’re just ready to get going. Once we all get back into the rink together and start practicing that excitement will be going around, it’s going to be a great time.”
In 2019-20, Foreman nearly doubled his offensive output, putting together 17 goals and 45 assists in 52 games. The soon-to-be 19-year-old was quick to credit his linemates when asked of his success and shared his hopes of turning some more heads in 2020-21.
“I think I gained a lot of confidence being put in a leadership role and being relied on by the coaching staff and my teammates. At the same time I was playing with two really good hockey players. I also spent time with Josiah Vanderhoft, we found instant chemistry after we acquired him in a trade.”
“We’re bringing back a young team with a good amount of veterans. Those veterans will be relied upon heavily to mentor the young guys and teach them how the league works. I think we will look to take that next step and turn some heads once again,” Foreman concluded.