From Russia to Buffalo, Raider forward Cole Fonstad has been on the move since the team’s season came to an end last month.
Following a stellar sophomore season in Prince Albert, the Estevan native was selected to represent Team Canada at the 2018 U18 World Championships, which were held in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk, Russia from April 19-29. While the tournament ended abruptly for the top-seeded Canadians when they suffered a 2-1 upset loss to the Czech Republic in the quarter-final, Fonstad spoke positively about his time overseas, which included regular crowds of over 6,000.
“All the fans there were pretty crazy about Team Canada, so it was a pretty cool experience to play there and play with all the top players from around the world,” Fonstad said.
Off the ice, Fonstad said Canadian players had the opportunity to do some sight-seeing and were given a tour of the city of Chelyabinsk along with the opportunity to try some local cuisine.
“I haven’t done anything like that before, so to go over to Russia, that was different,” Fonstad said. “I’ve been over to Europe a couple different times before, and going to Russia was a whole different world.”
Now back on home soil, Fonstad said his focus has shifted toward preparations for the upcoming NHL draft, beginning with the scouting combine that runs from May 27 to June 2 in Buffalo, New York. The combine consists of player interviews, medical assessments, and a series of fitness tests which the Raider forward is putting his focus on.
“You want to make sure you’re doing good on those,” Fonstad said. “Right now I’m just trying to focus on the different strength tests that they do, and the cardio tests too.”
As for the interview portion of the combine, which has become notorious in recent years for including bizarre questions to evaluate a player’s psyche, Fonstad said there is little preparation he can do.
“I think you’ve just got to be prepared for anything," he said. "I’ve heard some pretty crazy questions that guys have been asked, so I guess just be yourself and be honest. I’ve talked to my agent a bit about it, but you can’t really do anything to prepare.”
The combine serves as the final evaluation opportunity for NHL clubs ahead of the draft, which will be held June 22-23 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Despite being busy with preparations, Fonstad said he kept an eye on the WHL playoffs, which fuelled his desire to help push the Raiders further next season.
“I don’t think any fans beat ours," he said. "I think if we were to make a run that far next year, and that’s our main goal, it’s going to be pretty crazy in the Art Hauser.”
On Twitter: @Trevor_Redden
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