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LEGENDARY BLOODLINES

No. 37-ranked Nolan the first of the Foote men to make noise at forward

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

With a name like that, the rugged, stay-at-home sort immediately comes to mind.

That type tends to run in the family.

"Never played D," Nolan Foote, the No. 37-ranked North-American skater, laughed of the family bloodlines.

"Nah.

"I always wanted to score goals."

His often black-and-blue, nicked-up father, meanwhile, was on the opposite side, doing everything possible to prevent them in his time.

He was heralded for how he played, how he sacrificed - quite literally - life and limb to block a shot, make a hit, or exhibit the famous Foote fervor in clearing a path in front of the net. In all, he played over 1,000 NHL games across 19 seasons with Quebec, Colorado and Columbus, capturing the Stanley Cup twice with the Avalanche in 1996 and 2001.

He also racked up more than 1,500 penalty minutes and is a two-time Olympian.

A life well-lived.

There isn't one facet of his father's illustrious career that Nolan doesn't look up to and beam with pride and admiration.

But he wanted his own path.

His own story.

 

Video: Son of former NHLer Adam Foote speaks at Combine

 

"Being at the rink all the time growing up, in and around NHL locker-rooms, I got a first-hand look at what it takes to be a pro - the commitment you need to have, in addition to the skill," said Foote, whose brother, Cal is a 2017 first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"I got to see all kinds of different players, and I think I fell in love with the idea of being a forward pretty early on.

"My favourite players growing up were Evgeni Malkin and Jamie Benn. I just love the way they play the game.

"With how big and strong they are, how well they shoot the puck, those were guys I looked up to and felt I could model my game after."

If the early returns are any indication, the comparison lives up.

Foote - a 6-foot-4, 194 lb. left-shot beast off the wing - led the Kelowna Rockets with 36 goals last year, and did so battling a fractured wrist that caused him to drop 11 spots from his midterm ranking.

He enters the draft as a first-round longshot, but could be a diamond-in-the-rough-type selection for any team looking to bolster their offence in the second round on.

 

 

"I made sure to tell the teams that I interviewed with [at the Combine] that I played through that injury," Foote said. "It wasn't really discovered until I had an x-ray after the season ended, so it healed itself and…I'm good to go now."

The entire Foote family, including Adam - who took over as the Rockets' head coach in October of last year - will be on hand next Friday and Saturday in Vancouver as Nolan lives out his childhood dream.

To continue the family legacy.

In his own way.

"I've leaned on my dad and my brother quite a bit during this process," Nolan said. "I'm thankful for that.

"For them.

"They just keep telling me to enjoy every minute, because a moment like this only happens once."

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