New HC SLOVAN player Kurtis Foster talks exclusively for hcslovan.sk few hours after signing a deal with our club.
You were the defensman scoring leader in Zagreb. How was the first season in KHL for you?
It was a very enjoyable season. I was impressed by the level of play in the KHL and it was fun to see so many cities around the world. Zagreb was an amazing city and Medvescak was great to me and my family and I am thankful for it.
Why did you decide to change NHL for KHL, Noth America for Europe?
I think it was time to make the transition to Europe in summer 2013. My opportunities to play consistently in NHL appeared to over and I was at the point in my career where I felt it was best to come over to Europe and KHL. I have really enjoyed the style of play in KHL and the length of the season.
You have played in NHL more than 400 games. Which season in NHL was the best for you?
My year in Tampa Bay playing for the Lightning, where I became defensman scoring leader. I played alongside Marty St Louis and Steven Stamkos. They were amazing players who really made everyone around them better!
Now you have experiences from both NHL and KHL. Can you compare these two leagues?
The biggest difference I found was the size of the ice surfaces which lead to a very different style of play in KHL from NHL. It was my first season in KHL in Zagreb so I did not know what to expect from it. I was really impressed also with the ability of the players in KHL who I had never seen or played against before too.
You have played alongside the great hockey players. Do you remember on the player, who have had the biggest impression on you – personally and as a player?
Marty St Louis was one of the best I played with and he really helped me become a better player. He was so dedicated and worked harder on and off the ice than anyone I have ever seen. He was a true competitor and made everyone around him better.
You signed a contract with Slovan yesterday. Why did you decide for Slovan, what was the most important?
Important for me is besides the club also the city, I stay at. I have been to Bratislava a few times and have always enjoyed the city. Slovan also has a beautiful arena and great fans!
Do you have any informations about Slovan from anyone?
I have played with Branko Radiovojevic and Martin Skoula before and they said good things about the team and the city. They recommended me to come to Slovan.
Matt Murley signed a deal with Slovan too. Did you disccuss with him about our club, about your contract?
Yes we have been in contact with him once Slovan made an offer and it is nice having a teammate that I have previously played with.
Do you know any other players in Slovan?
Yes I do know Vladimir Mihalik and Jaroslav Janus when we met briefly in Tampa. Vlado is a very good defence man and teammate. I also met Milan Bartovic at the all star game and he was a very nice guy as well as a very good player.
You were on the ice in Bratislava in March in Zagreb jersey. What impressions do you have from this game?
I was very impressed with the fans of Bratislava. Even though it was last game of the year, they were all very energetic and it was a fun atmosphere to play in.
Have you been on holiday after long season?
After our season with Zagreb we travelled Croatia a bit and I am currently in Norway for my sister in laws wedding. But I am very excited to come to Bratislava and train to get ready for the season.
When did you start with practises? Do you prepare in Canada?
I took about 2 weeks off after the season then I started my off ice training. Then a couple weeks ago I started on ice and it definitely makes me excited for the upcoming preseason and regular season.
Do you know what number will you wear in Slovan?
In the past I played with 55, 6 and 3 but I think these numbers are already reserved. I will probably choose between 44 or 22, haven´t decided yet.
Will you be in Bratislava alone or is your family going to stay here with you?
My family will be joining me in September in Bratislava. My wife Stephanie and boys Jackson and Charlie are very excited to come to Bratislava and take in all the culture.
This will be your second season in KHL for you? What are your goals?
Well I would like to have a strong season offensively and defensively for Slovan. Hopefully I will help the team to make playoffs and win the Gagarin Cup.