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Way Beyond Blue and Gold: The Ties That Bind

by Brian Duff @duffersabres /

BBG Bonus: Mr. and Mrs. Foligno

BBG Bonus: Mr. and Mrs. Foligno

Marcus Foligno used to catch frogs with his future wife when they were kids. How adorable is that? Beyond Blue and Gold is presented by New Era

  • 02:18 •

First and foremost, a huge thank you to all who have gone out of their way to mention to us how much they enjoyed the original "Maturation of Marcus" episode.

To say we were well-looked after for a couple of sunny summer days in Sudbury, Ontario would be an understatement.

Marcus and his wife Natascia (I'm guessing more the latter…) welcomed us with a traditional, and exceptional feast of Italian meats, breads, olives and cheeses that essentially delayed the start of our shoot by about an hour.

From there, the tour of Sudbury began and we quickly saw our first and only bear on the trip. He was just a little guy, and he moved so fast that even the deft reflexes and abilities of cameramen Travis Carlson and Sam Korotkin couldn't quite capture the moment.

The topic then shifted to the nickname "Moose." Marcus attributes it to friends and family years ago identifying him as a little bit bigger and more awkward than his hockey peers back in the day. Sadly there were no other moose sightings on the trip!

There was plenty of talk about the Sudbury smokestack and other landmarks - some more familiar to tourists, the majority simply near and dear to the heart of Marcus.

Video: BBG: Marcus Foligno in Sudbury

Our time at the hospice, where his mother Janis spent her final cancer-fighting days in 2009, was particularly moving, delivered eloquently by Marcus, and captured respectfully by the crew.

When you listen to Natascia talk about how "in-check with his emotions" he truly is, I can't think of a better example. 

And that gets us to this: The bonus scene from this BBG.

There was simply so much good, and good-natured stuff that was left on the cutting room floor from the main episode that we tried to offer you just a little more. The training sessions on his brother Nick's property were really fun to be a part of - I say that because I was only observing!

But at one point during the hockey drills, Marcus was killing it with his backhanders while Nick was…having a tough day. In fact I was beginning to think he wouldn't mind us burning the footage.

(Of course Nick's 1st goal this season for Columbus was a gentle little backhander from short range, so I think all is now forgotten.)

But going back to being in-check with one's emotions, it was impossible not to notice that Nick was slightly more colorful with his vocabulary in the midst of the workouts.

Nick didn't shy away from the accusation but offered up that a recent session - before our arrival - had led to Marcus chucking his stick into the woods and kicking over a bucket of pucks. 

Gotta love the sibling rivalry!


We conducted our sit-down interviews next door at the family home where Nick and Marcus' dad Mike resides.

For all the years that Mike has been in the game, he still shakes his head at how naïve he was in the summer/fall of 2009, following Marcus being selected 104th overall by the Sabres.

Mike, a former Sabres captain, had convinced himself that Buffalo could maybe use someone of Marcus' size and ability right away. So very early on in training camp that year, there's a knock on the door at the Foligno homestead. And there's Marcus.

"You're back already?" Mike remembers saying vividly. "You must be so disappointed!"

As Mike recalls, Marcus was instead beaming. 

"'No Dad, look what they gave me!'" Marcus said in Mike's retelling. "And he's pulling out Sabres gear - shorts, shirts, hats, etcetera - and I'm sitting here like, 'What was I thinking? I thought he had a chance!' But you know, we all have these expectations, and it just takes time."  

All part of the maturation.

When Mike reflected on what his wife Janis would be most proud of in Marcus, he looked skyward for a moment and said, "A lot of things. His sense of humor. He's a good teammate. He's a good son in the sense of family unity, the way he carries himself, and the responsibility he's taken on. And now that he's married, he's taken on a whole bunch of other responsibilities."

I do wonder what Janis Foligno would have thought about the social media obsession with her baby.
My guess is she'd be as proud of him for that, as she was "with that one move" she would see Marcus make every time he played.

Hope you enjoy this bonus scene that delves a little deeper into the story of Marcus and Natascia.

Video: BBG Bonus: Mr. and Mrs. Foligno

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