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Birthdays a real treat for Foligno

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
You’d think growing up as the son of a National Hockey League player would offer more than enough treats for Nick Foligno.

But it was always better than that. Much better.

Foligno, you see, was born on Halloween in Buffalo, N.Y., during father Mike’s days with the Sabres. All of which made birthdays a bonus occasion of sorts for the second-year Ottawa Senators forward.

“You had everyone come over for cake and presents and then you got to go out and trick or treat,” Foligno said with a grin as he recalled that fond childhood memory. “Honestly, I used to love my birthdays when I was younger. It was a blast going out trick or treating with my friends.

“You got presents and candy. That’s better than anything. Then two months later, it was Christmas, so I had the best of both worlds.”

Though the family moved to Toronto in 1992 – a year after Mike Foligno was traded to the Maple Leafs – Nick’s best Halloween memories came during the years he lived in Clarence, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo.

“We had a nice neighbourhood,” said Foligno, who turns 21 later this week. “Everyone would come over and we’d go trick or treating. I remember I used to put my candy in piles. Nobody else in my family could touch my pile.”

His favourite Halloween costume? That’s easy.

“Donatello of the (Teenage Mutant) Ninja Turtles,” said Foligno. “I loved that costume. That was my favourite. I think I still have parts of that costume at home. I was maybe six or seven. I had the whole backpack and everything.”

These days, the Foligno clan calls Sudbury, Ont., home. That’s where Mike Foligno coaches the Ontario Hockey League’s Wolves, a team that includes Nick’s 17-year-old brother, Marcus, in its lineup. Marcus Foligno is eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal.

“He’s like every young player, he’s got to keep working hard,” said Nick. “He’s a big boy, a lot bigger than me – 6-3, almost 6-4. Tough as nails, still has some skill.

“I’d like to see him get drafted. It doesn’t matter where.”

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