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‘I feel alive again’: Adam Foote talks coaching Canucks, what he loves about Quinn Hughes, and more

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Photo credit:Ed Andrieski / AP
Lachlan Irvine
11 months ago
If you’d told people two decades ago that Adam Foote would someday love life as a Vancouver Canuck, nobody would’ve believed you.
And yet, as he sat down for After Hours with Scott Oake and Louie DeBrusk after the Canucks’ 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators, he confirmed exactly that.
The 51-year-old assistant coach has two Stanley Cup rings on his playing resume, but now he’s taking on a different challenge behind the Canucks bench.
But that doesn’t mean Foote isn’t any less excited about his second hockey life.
“I love it. I can honestly tell you this, my brain the first week I’m not used to that, we were in the office for hours. But you know what, I feel alive again,” Foote said. “I haven’t felt this feeling since I retired.”
Foote spent 19 years in the NHL, including 17 seasons with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche franchise that drafted him in 1989. Over that time, Foote played a crucial role on two Avs championship teams, scored 308 points, and amassed 1534 penalty minutes.
To say the first-time NHL assistant has his hands full already would be an understatement. Thanks to an Oliver Ekman-Larsson injury and a trade deadline move that sent Luke Schenn to Toronto, Foote’s defensive group is made up of Christian Wolanin, Kyle Burroughs, Guillaume Brisebois, and Noah Juulsen.
“They’re doing well these young guys. We have four guys up and they’re young and in a game like today you don’t want to see it go 4-2 but we need these games to happen to us,” Foote said about his inexperienced group.
“As coaches, you want the perfect game so they can feel the heat and not panic. The first few games we could tell when things didn’t go our way, we would be not connected as a group. And here I think they’re starting to build belief. But you have to go through the process, I believe, of having those close games.”
Luckily for Foote, he has one star to lean on.
The differences between the skills that’s made 5-foot-10 Quinn Hughes and the 6-foot-2 Foote successful NHL defenders in their respective eras couldn’t be much further apart. But the former Colorado Avalanche blue liner can see what makes Hughes so special.
Foote spoke extremely highly of working with Hughes, and Rick Tocchet seems to agree with his assistant coach. In last night’s victory over the Senators, Hughes played a team-high 28:47.
“You know I knew he was good, I could see his skill set and I watched four games before I came here but I’ve seen him play,” Foote said about his number one defenceman. “But I mean we can go on and on about his skill set, how he escapes with his feet and his brain.”
“What I love is he competes. He wants to compete, he wants to be out there, I think he’s a hell of a leader. He wants to lead, he goes at it in practice, he rubs it up. Everything about him, even what I’m seeing now, is higher than what I thought.”
And in that way, Adam Foote and Quinn Hughes are very alike.

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