The 2000/2001 season was supposed to be a big one for Aaron Foster.
The 18-year-old Cougars forward had set high goals for the all-important draft year. Points needed to be made, scouts had to be impressed. Everything was going to fall in place for the strapping 6’4″, 214-lb Alberta boy. And then, all of a sudden, everything changed.
Foster fractured his wrist in his first game of the season. The injury, the first serious one in his hockey-playing career, was severe enough to sideline the winger for 23 games.
“After he told me that I almost threw that doctor out of the window,” says Foster with a rueful grin of remembrance. “My heart just dropped.”
Even after receiving a clean bill of health and returning, Foster wasn’t playing up to the high marks he’d set for himself. It took eight more games for Foster to register his first point of the season. Just a single goal, but enough to rekindle the waning spark of his hopes for the season.
“That first month back I wasn’t doing much or doing as well as I can. It was all mental, I just needed to get my head back in the game.”
And when Foster got back into the game, he did it in a big way, scoring both game-winning goals against the Seattle Thunderbirds Tuesday and Wednesday night. It was a chance to finally show the hometown crowd that he was back, and a chance to put some personal demons to rest.
“It’s great. It’s a great feeling,” said an elated Foster after winning the second Seattle game for the Cats. The pair of third-period game-winners extended Foster’s point-streak to four in the last three games. “It’s incredibly good for my confidence level. I’m going out and playing hard. I wasn’t getting those bounces before and now I am.”
Foster admits he was feeling under the gun after returning. Last season he’d put up respectable numbers as a 17-year-old and he knew that after missing almost half the season he had to make a big splash with the games he had left.
“I was getting a little bit worried for a while I’d only had two points in 14 games. This is a big year for me being my draft year and I had some hefty goals set,” says Foster. “Coming back I knew I had to do something to get this year going and finish strong.”
The recent rekindling of Foster’s game has brought his season total up to seven. The young forward is hoping it also signals a return to the level of play he knew he was ready for at the beginning of the season.