Kris Foucault’s bid for a Memorial Cup came to a close on Friday as the Calgary Hitmen fell in Friday’s semifinal to the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 5-4 in overtime. Foucault was held without a point in the loss.
We’ll never know, but it would seem that the Hitmen would have provided a bigger challenge to eventual winner, Windsor. The Spitfires rolled to their second straight Memorial Cup with a 9-1 trouncing of Brandon. Windsor’s Taylor Hall, who Wild fans may get to know well if he’s picked first overall by Edmonton this June, was the Tournament MVP. He led all tournament scorers with five goals and four assists in just four games.
Foucault has another year of junior eligibility, but he’s hoping to move on to a higher level within the Wild organization. I caught up with him on Monday to get his thoughts on his season, the Memorial Cup and his upcoming summer.
How do you feel about your season, and especially the way you finished with a strong showing in the playoffs and Memorial Cup.
As a team, we weren’t supposed to have the team we had this year. It was said that it would be a rebuilding year for the Hitmen, and it definitely didn’t turn out to be one. I think the job that our coaches did and the job Kelly Kisio did to bring in some guys was unreal. That was the reason we had so much success.
For myself, I think it started a little slow. I came back to Calgary a little too complacent after the Wild camp. I think the end of the season I showed more of the style of hockey I can play. I can put up points and score big goals for our team, and I think if I would have shown that throughout the whole year, it would have looked a lot better on my resume, but I think I showed how I can play in the playoffs and through the Memorial Cup.
From a distance, it certainly seemed like you raised your level in the Western Hockey League playoffs and the Memorial Cup.
For sure, I think I scored some pretty big goals for our team in the playoffs. I think I had four game-winners and one of them was in overtime. And I had a couple game-tying goals after being down by a couple. So I’m very proud of the way I played in the playoffs and I think there’s more to come from me if I can keep playing that style of hockey. I just have to keep working and everything takes care of itself.
For those of us here in Minnesota, most haven’t experienced a Memorial Cup, and I can only guess it might be as big a spectacle as the State Hockey tournament here, or perhaps the WCHA Final Five. What were your impressions of that spectacle?
Apparently, it’s been said that it’s the toughest trophy to win in North America. It’s really tough to get there. You’re playing four series in the playoffs just to win your league, and then when you get there you have to play a round-robin against the best teams in Canada. I think the toughest part for me was it was basically a one-game elimination. If you lost a game or took a couple shifts off, that was the end of it for your team. That’s what happened to us [on Friday] is we took a period off and Brandon ended up beating us. I think it’s definitely one of the toughest trophies I’ve ever played for.
It was just a grind. I think it was 19 games just to get to the Memorial, so it’s definitely a time where I’m going to look back and remember the times I had, how tough the hockey was, but also how great it was to spend all that time with the boys.
What are your plans for the summer as you prepare to hopefully get to the next level in your career?
I definitely hope to be somewhere within the Wild organization next year. That would be nice as a 20-year old. I haven’t really talked much to the guys since playoffs, but I’m hoping to be there a couple times this summer to train and get a lot faster and quicker to get ready for the next season.
How much did the Wild brass talk to you throughout the season?
They were great throughout the season. I think every home game I had, there was one of the head scouts or someone watching me here. I talked to [amateur scout] Paul Charles a couple times. He was the first guy I talked to prior to the draft last year. He kept in touch with me and told me what I had to work on, and then Jamie Hislop has been keeping in touch, and giving me all the things I need to work on throughout the year. He’s kind of been my mentor, basically telling me after every game what I did well and what I need to work on to get to the next level.