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Mike Foligno chimes in on Vegas expansion draft

Former Wolves player and coach now working as a scout for Las Vegas
It's been a busy "off-season" for Mike Foligno, working as a professional scout for the NHL's newest franchise, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. (File photo)

The recent NHL Expansion Draft that was conducted to fill the inaugural roster of the Vegas Golden Knights was certainly of interest to a large number of Sudburians, though perhaps none moreso than the city's "First Family of Hockey".

Given his role as a professional scout with the first new entry to the league since the 2000-2001 campaign, Mike Foligno was in the hub of discussions in Vegas, as the team began taking shape last week.

"We've put a lot of miles on the vehicles to try and get to the games and give a good assessment of all of the players," said Foligno, in Sudbury recently to support the CrossFit Battle Beyond the Barbell, a fundraising effort towards the Janis Foligno Foundation.

"We had a mock draft pretty much every month since the start of the regular season. George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon have done a tremendous job, with Murray Craven at the helm. It's a great group."

The role was the latest that Foligno has undertaken since the former Sudbury Wolves' captain served as head coach of his former team from 2003 through until 2010. 

"I've always enjoyed coaching, I never lose my love for that part of the job," he said.

"This has been a different part of the job. It's been a long time since the last expansion, so this was kind of all new to us this year. It's not a normal scouting season, where you're just scouting certain players to make a trade. You're scouting basically for a whole hockey team. It's really different in that regard."

A key bonus and attraction to his current gig came by virtue of the territory that he covered, an area that included the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets and their respective farm teams.

"I was pretty fortunate this year that Buffalo and Columbus were within the mix of my teams to watch," said Foligno, alluding to the teams for which sons Marcus and Nick currently play.

"I had a chance to see the family, which is always nice. You never want to take on a job where you never get to see the family. As much as this is a great business, family is first."

With the expansion draft now behind them, Foligno and the Knights will focus on the upcoming UFA period, beyond which he is hoping to spend at least some of the summer of 2017 back home in Sudbury.