Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Whatever Happened To: Griffin Foulk

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was drafted by the Montreal Expos. Atlanta Braves great Tom Glavine was drafted by the LA Kings. And we all know the stories about Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and other multi-sport players.

Might we one day be able to reminisce about Griffin Foulk's time in the WHL in the same way? Only time will tell.

Foulk spent his days in the Western Hockey League as a defenseman with Everett, Seattle, Lethbridge and Swift Current, before heading to Fargo in the 2015-16 season. He knew all along he had the WHL's post-secondary scholarship program to fall back on, but his intention since he first arrived in the Dub was to make it to the NHL. Until the Broomfield, Colorado product came upon his last year of WHL eligibility, when he started thinking about his options again.

Foulk visits with kids at Sunnyside School in January 2014. Photo from Palliser School Division website.
"I knew I had that in my back-pocket," Foulk told Canes This Week. "Being from Denver and being away from home for so many years, being away for hockey, it was kind of a no-brainer to come back and get my education from Colorado University."

He didn't want to pass up the opportunity to get his schooling, but the competitive juices didn't stop flowing after he hung up his skates. He turned his attention to football, which started as a simple idea, knowing there was "more out there" in the world.

"There was a local trainer I met with and basically I said 'give it to me straight, do you think I have a chance to do this?'" Foulk recalls. "He said 'I think you do' and so I got in the gym with them and started working out."

While the training styles are admittedly different, Foulk used his knowledge base from his time training as a hockey player to get himself ready for a tryout with the Colorado University Buffaloes. All with the hope of getting noticed as a walk-on.

And that's exactly what the 6'1", 200 pound freshman did. He's a redshirt for the time being, but he's using it as an opportunity to continue to learn the game. Surprisingly, this is his first taste of organized football, as he spent his youth focusing on hockey at the highest level possible.

Foulk is listed as a defensive back for the Buffaloes, something he thinks his hockey past lends itself well towards.

"Being in the back-end with hockey, I was thinking it could translate well with football, being the last line of defense and having to read the play in front of you," Foulk said. "Kind of the way my brain sees things, it's really helped with my background in hockey."

Foulk is also quick to point out some of the big differences between football and hockey, such as preparing for one game a week in football as compared to as many as three or four in hockey. Video is a much more integral part of football preparations, as you study teams, formations and coverage schemes, he added.

Believe it or not, Foulk's not doing this alone either. His roommate is Riley Hillis, a former Tri-City Americans defenseman, who is also on the Colorado University roster as a tailback. They have been together through the process since the start.

"It's been fun to come back at the end of the day and compare different things and reminisce on the Dub," Foulk said. "Some things are different, but sports at a high level have a lot of similarities, doesn't matter if it's football or hockey."

When it comes to the transition, the 22-year-old makes light of his "veteran" status amongst the other players, some of whom are fresh out of high school.

"Everything I developed in the Western Hockey League, both on and off the ice, has helped me with this new endeavour in the sense of becoming a young professional at such a young age managing a 72-game schedule, road travel, stuff like that," Foulk said. "I'm a bit of an older guy on the team but I've been able to use those tools to my advantage and will continue to."

But is Foulk looking to make a run at an NFL or CFL career?

"At this point for me, it's taking it day-by-day and just trying to absorb as much as I can in the practices as it's still a completely new thing for me," Foulk answered. "Every day I'm learning new things, picking up different lingo and starting to develop a sense for the position and the game."

Foulk is one of 364 former players utilizing the WHL's scholarship program.

Listen to the audio of Joe's interview with Griffin, as well as the whole Week #8 Canes This Week show, below.

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