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FEATURE: "Homecoming" still doesn't feel real for Brodziak

Oilers forward Kyle Brodziak excited for return to Oilers after nine seasons away from home

by Jessica Kent /

EDMONTON, AB -- Sitting on the balcony of his Sherwood Park home sipping coffee from a mug reading "Canada" with red maple leaves stippling the sides, Kyle Brodziak looks onto a view that isn't new to he and his family.

"We've come back every summer since we left Edmonton," Brodziak said. "It's still the middle of summer and hockey's not really on your mind yet, so it doesn't feel quite real that I'm an Oiler yet."

The Brodziak clan is here to stay after the centre returned to the Oilers on July 1. For the first time in nine years they won't have to pack their bags or say their goodbyes to friends and family come the end of summer.

Video: 1-on-1 | Kyle Brodziak

"The thought of being able to live here year-round with the ages our boys are at is exciting," he exclaimed. "They get to grow up around grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins which is very valuable to my wife and I… my family is very excited about everything that playing here has to offer."

The 6-foot-2, 209-pound forward grew up an hour and a half east of Edmonton in Vegreville, so for him, the Oilers are his "home team". He was drafted by the orange and blue in 2003 and played for the team from 2005 to 2009.

His first order of business as a returning Oiler will be golfing in the Celebrity Pro-Am at the Oil Country Championship on July 31.

"I'm really looking forward to that. It's my first event as an Oiler so I'm excited to participate," he said.

His tenure with the team will look much different the second time around. For starters, he will be playing in downtown Edmonton in a state of the art arena. He'll also have a new group of teammates, including one of the league's top athletes, Connor McDavid.

"I think to watch him every day is what will be the most exciting for myself personally, and to have a guy of that calibre on your team is something that teams that want to win, I think, have to have," he explained. "We're fortunate to have him."

The new number 28 said he is going into the season feeling good physically and mentally and wants to continue to build off of the strong season he felt he had last year with the St. Louis Blues.

"I felt like I was consistent and I started to find some areas of my game that I haven't felt as good about and I want to continue on that trend. I don't set any goals, points wise or anything like that, I just want to make sure I'm playing as well as I can and be as consistent as I can be."

With the 2018-19 season quickly approaching, Brodziak said he's looking forward to the 'fandemonium' that comes with playing hockey in Oil Country and couldn't be happier to be back.

"There's an energy that surrounds this city when the team's doing well, just that good buzz that a good hockey team can bring is something I'm excited for."

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