Less than 50 tickets remain for Saturdays pre-season game. Call 281.265.7469 or 281.265.7440 to order.Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Friday, September 30, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line)
Photo courtesy of Jeanie McHugh (Sports Edition
Foster makes his mark on, off ice
SUGAR LAND, Texas -
Aeros Training Camp Report, Day 4
Kurtis Foster laughed the first time someone at Aeros camp referred to him as one of the older guys. Fosters only 23, but to Aeros fans it seems like hes been around forever.
He turned pro midway through the 2001-02 season, and spent 2 ½ seasons with the Chicago Wolves. A trade from the Atlanta to Anaheim organizations left him in Cincinnati in 2004-05.
Now one of six veterans in camp, Foster will be looked upon to help lead a young team.
Its funny, said Foster, an imposing presence at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds. They mentioned in the meeting that if guys had questions, I was one of the guys to go to. I still feel like Im one of the young guys. But there arent many older guys here. We dont have a guy over 30. Between all of us (Foster, Kirby Law, Curtis Murphy, Anders Myrvold, Joey Tetarenko and Erik Westrum) we know whats going on. Its good to have young players like we do. They seem to like to soak in as much info as they can.
The Carp, Ont., native attended Wild camp, but isnt in any way frustrated to begin the season in Houston.
It was the opportunity, Foster said, referring to his decision to sign with the Wild. Being a guy in my position, they like to give guys shots. They were looking for offensive defensemen. I knew I wouldnt start the year there, but you know they like to give the guys in the AHL an opportunity. Theyve always had it where if guys arent playing well theyll usually find guys in the minors, not through trades.
Foster, who has played in five NHL games, all with Atlanta, has been impressed with what hes seen so far in Houston.
You cant get a better organization in the minors, Foster said, noting the new pictures on the wall in the redesigned training facility. Cincy and Chicago were great too, but Houstons right there on top. Its a great city and a great organization that treats its players well. They play a very high-paced, quick game, especially with the new rules.
On-the-ice leadership isnt the only kind that Foster will be asked for. The 2003-04 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award as the American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year for community service, Foster is a sight in the community, and not just for his massive frame.
He began his community work in juniors with OHL Peterborough.
Wed always do Pizza Huts on Tuesdays and wed talk to schools, he said. My last year there I didnt go to school, so I did several visits and I got used to talking in public.
Foster got to Chicago and jumped right in even at his tender age.
I was by myself, no girlfriend at the time, he said. I told them I was up for everything.
And everything they threw at him. Library visits, school visits. Even a program called Kurtis K-9s, to encourage fans to adopt pets.
They were always very fan based, Foster said. It was great to see them, they were at every function. We always had something going on. Being a minor league team in a major league city, you need to be out and exposed as much as possible.
Foster said hell encourage his teammates to do the same.
It doesnt take much, he said. It only takes a couple hours of your day. We practice in the morning and have the rest of day to do whatever. You want to go and make people smile. It doesnt matter whos walked into the room, we know that if someone with a jersey on walks into the room, theyll be happy.
On the ice, Foster had a breakout season in 2004-05. He set Cincinnati franchise records for most goals (17) and power play goals (eight) in one season by a defenseman, and he led club blueliners in goals, assists (25), points (42), power play goals, game-winning goals (four) and shots (206).
Hes also been an Aero-killer in his career, going for 23 points (10-13=23) in just 29 games, quite the output for a defenseman. One of those goals was a game-winner for Chicago in February, 2003.
Oh, and he also holds the AHL record for the Hardest Shot competition, at a whopping 101 mph in 2003. Daum cant wait to see team in action
The Aeros play host to the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center. (As of 2 p.m. Friday, less than 50 tickets remained). The teams meet again Sunday at 5 p.m. in suburban San Antonio.
Count Aeros head coach Rob Daum as one whos happy to see his team against an opponent.
Everybody is looking forward to the chance to play, Daum said. Its really going to be important. A lot of times, you know that realistically there arent any jobs open. There are three or four jobs open on this team, and we dont know whos going to take them.
Daum said he thinks his team is adequately prepared, despite losing one day of practice time thanks to Hurricane Rita.
I think were as ready as we can be, he said. It would be nice if it was different, but its not. We can make the best of the situation. The guys are ready to play someone else. Get ready for whistles
Prior to Saturdays pre-game skate, the Aeros will look at an NHL-produced DVD regarding the new initiatives set forth by the league to cut back on obstruction and holding.
Penalties are up around the AHL in the pre-season, although thats usually the case. Thursdays Omaha/Iowa game featured 28 power plays Omaha went 3-for-16. Houston Aeros Training Camp Schedule
Saturday, 10/1 10-11 a.m. pre-game skate; 7 p.m. vs. San Antonio Rampage (pre-season) at Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center (Ticket information
, Less than 50 tickets remaining!)
Sunday, 10/2 5 p.m., at San Antonio Rampage (pre-season) at the Ice Center at Northwoods
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