I would hope so. Hopefully. I still want to play. I came back this year for one reason. It was to play hockey and hopefully … open some eyes … and find another contract for next year. - Steve Begin
CALGARY, AB -- Steve Begin earned a one-year contract after coming into Calgary Flames training camp in January on a free agent tryout.
It may not be long before he has another contract in his pocket.
After spending 765 days out of the National Hockey League before making his second debut with the Flames in Calgary's season-opener on January 20th, Begin feels he's played well enough to ensure that he'll be on an NHL roster come next October.
"I would hope so. Hopefully. I still want to play," Begin said. "I came back this year for one reason. It was to play hockey and hopefully … open some eyes … and find another contract for next year."
Begin's journey back to the NHL is an inspiring one to say the least.
Forced out of hockey with an ailing hip, Begin underwent surgery and months later, with his recovery complete, arrived at Flames camp in January. A long-shot given his inactivity, his health in question, the shortened training camp, he earned a shot.
Will it earn him another?
"I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done," Begin said. "It’s not up to me. We’ll see.
"Right now I have no idea, so we’ll wait and see."
His story earned Begin the Flames' nominee for the Bill Masterton Memory Trophy, "awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication."
Begin isn't sure if that is enough to earn himself an extended stay in Calgary.
"I have no idea," he said. "I wish. I hope so.
"It’s been a tough year, but it’s been from my standpoint personally, it was a good year."
Begin finished with four goals and eight points in 36 games. Prorated over a full schedule, the totals would've extended to be the second-most productive of his career.
But if the 34-year-old does indeed earn another contract, it won't be because of his offensive contributions.
Instead, the leadership he is able to provide to some of the team's younger players in addition to those Masterton characteristics is what could keep Begin around another season.
That sounds more than alright to Begin.
"It’ll be good. I know it’s going to be part of my job. I’d be more than happy," he said. "Those kids need to be surrounded with good leadership. It’s always fun to work with them even knowing that one day they’re going to take your job. It’s always fun to see them get better and help the team win."
It's the attitude that could have Begin coming into another Flames training camp next season, only with a contract already tucked away.