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Foo sees big potential in Calgary and that played into his decision to commit to the Flames

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Fit and opportunity.

Those are what tipped the scales for Spencer Foo.

"First of all, it's an absolute blessing to be in the position I am,'' conceded the Union Dutchmen right winger, after making a much-awaited decision on his NHL organization of choice.

"It's tough comparing teams.

"I know it's most kids' dreams to play for their hometown team, the one they grew up cheering for. That was certainly a consideration with me. All four of the organizations I was talked to at the end were great, great people, top to bottom. That made this really difficult.

"But in the end, I thought the best fit for me was Calgary."

The most sought-after collegiate free agent of the summer has committed to join the Flames on July 1st, spurning no end of suitors, including - yes - the nostalgic pull of his hometown Edmonton Oilers and glittery newness of the expansion Las Vegas Knights.

A big week for Foo clan, parents John and Diane - who together run a teacher resources company in Edmonton, Education Station - and sibling Braden.

Another brother, Parker, was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks over this past weekend and will be otherwise occupied. Tuesday was Spencer's turn to find an NHL home.

It marked another off-season coup for Flames' general manager Brad Treliving, having now added a proven No. 1 goaltender in Mike Smith, a rock-solid D-man in the person of Travis Hamonic and Tuesday a highly-sought-after free agent collegiate sniper.

Good business all 'round.

At Union College, Foo went from strength to strength. Last season the 6-foot 180-pound right winger scored 26 goals and complied 62 points in 38 games for the Dutchmen en route to a Hobey Baker finalist nod. Over a 113-game career at the NCAA level, he tallied 49 goals and 112 points.

As always, Treliving was quick to temper immediate over-the-top projections for a young incoming talent.

"Our expectation for Spencer is that he'll dig in this summer like he's never dug in before: Have the best summer of his life in terms of training,'' emphasized the Flames' GM.

"Then just come in and play.

"I want to caution expectations. You've heard me say this before with young players. This is a talented kid, can skate, has skill, competitive.

Tweet from @TSC_Hockey: Congratulations to @SpencerFoo, who has decided to join the @NHLFlames.

"But to start putting expectations on him at this point is foolish. He has a chance to have a real good career. His first order of business is having his best summer. He'll start in development camp, we'll get a real solid plan in place for him, he'll come into rookie camp and we'll take it each step of the way.

"We're going to let him develop and grow in his own time but I know he's a driven young man.

"The economics are the same everywhere for these guys. So you walk him through the opportunity, you walk him through your depth chart. His representatives do their homework.

"No. 2 is the fit. We spent a lot of time with Spencer, brought him and his dad in for a couple of days.

"You don't try to BS these kids, you're not trying to sell pie-in-the-sky. You just lay out your plans for the team and the player and they take it from there.

"I said to him: 'At the end of the day, you're going to be feel more comfortable in one place than the other options.' We hope it's here. We're going to tell you what we're all about. Do the homework and trust your gut.'"

Foo's gut told him to migrate south.

"A couple different factors,'' he said of making a rather important professional decision. "The biggest one is opportunity. The Flames have really made me feel welcome, that there's a spot for me, a role for me to play, on the team.

"That's what I want to do as an NHL player: Be able to make an impact.

"The other big thing is winning. The Flames have obviously made a couple big moves over the last week or so, improving their team. And already started with a good, solid, young core.

"I have to pick the place I think I'm going to have the best success in. 

"And that place, in my mind, is Calgary."

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