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Byron Froese lives in Calgary, so you can only imagine his excitement: "When they came to me with the offer, I knew it was going to be something I wouldn't pass up."

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

Travel isn't all it's cracked up to be. 

The allure of having to pack your life into a suitcase and trek east every summer tends to wear off over time.

So, when the phone rang and renowned jet-setter Byron Froese saw the 403 area code pop up from his home in the Calgary suburb of Auburn Bay in the deep southeast, it felt like a case of divine intervention. 

"Me and my wife both said to each other about a month ago: 'How nice would it be to sign in Calgary?' To the chance to stay here a bit longer, at least, and perhaps the whole season …

"When they came to me with the offer, I knew it was going to be something I wouldn't pass up.

"We welcomed our first baby (a boy, Bodie) here on May 29. To add a member to our family and at the same time sign in Calgary, it just makes it that much sweeter."

Froese, who spent the majority of the past two years in the Montreal Canadians organization - splitting time with the Habs and their AHL affiliate in Laval, Que. - finished the 2018-19 campaign with 44 points (21G, 23A) in 70 games. 

Forty-six with the Laval Rocket. 

Twenty-four with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, following a mid-season trade. 

This, after starting the off-season in Calgary and over the previous eight years, suiting up for 10 other pro teams, including the Maple Leafs, Lightning and, yes, the Canadiens.

 

 

He's hoping to turn his stay with his hometown team into an extended one, beginning at training camp this fall on a one-year deal that will pay him $700,000.

Straight up the Deerfoot, 25 minutes in all.

Sure beats economy class and retrofitting an unfamiliar hotel room into your new living quarters. 

"With my talks with management, they seem pretty high on me and are excited to have me," Froese said. "I believe I can still play in the NHL; I still believe I can be an effective player in the NHL. That being said, I know Calgary's got a really good team. 

"I'm going to come into camp ready to push and to try to make a spot or least create conversation."

In 110 NHL starts, the 6-foot-1, 202-lb. pivot has five goals, 16 points and 47 penalty minutes.

He's more of a defensive specialist that loves the physical side of the game. 

With Garnet Hathaway gone to the Washington Capitals on a four-year deal, there's an opening an Aisle Grit that Froese has his sights on.

"Two years ago, when I was in Montreal, I really settled in and my confidence went up," he said. "Playing in the National Hockey League, I had a really good month/month-and-a-half of play. Then, unfortunately, I got healthy scratched for no other reason other than they wanted to see what else they had in the organization. But have that confidence, to know I can play, contribute and be an effective player, and an effective role-player, too, that definitely helps. 

"It was tough not to get the chance to go up last year, but you can take that time in the minors to really hone in on our game - your consistency, every asset, night in and night out to be the best player you can be."

 

 

Certainly, there's something to be said for a little stability. 

And opportunity.

But that isn't say the wanderlust bug has escaped him, totally.

At this time a year ago, Froese and his wife, Teil, travelled from their off-season home in Calgary to Auckland, New Zealand, to take part in the 2018 Ice Hockey Classic - a signature event held annually Down Under, with stops in the aforementioned Kiwi capital, Adelaide and Brisbane, Australia, and featured players from both Canada and the U.S. in a set of head-to-head showdowns.

The two-week showcase not only helped to grow the game out of market, but also raised money for the STOPCONCUSSIONS Foundation in association with Brain Injury Australia.

"Pretty amazing experience," Froese said. "I'd always heard about it and saw other guys going.

"It was crazy. They take care of everything - they get you over there, get you set up in the hotel and that sort of thing. 

"To go over and see a different part of the world, to raise money for a good cause, and also be able to travel the world for yourself, it was pretty amazing.

"I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

But for now, he'll unpack put his bags back in the closest. 

The whirlwind - now with a growing young family in tow - is finally on pause.

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