It was an odd night for Jesse Forsberg when he returned to Prince George.
The Prince George Cougars former captain made his return to the city he called home for three winters after being traded to the Cougars' WHL western conference rival, the Seattle Thunderbirds, in an off-season deal that brought forward Colin Jacobs to the Cats. It was a new experience when Forsberg was assigned to the visitor's dressing room Friday at CN Centre.
"It's definitely weird," said Forsberg. "I've seen it before in camp but that's it. It's the same thing staying in a hotel downtown, it feels weird but, I was here for three years, and it's just the way it is.
"I'm wearing the blue and I've got to go out there and play against those guys," he said, adding it was nice to sit down for a home-cooked meal with his ex-billets after the T-birds arrived Thursday.
In three full seasons with the Cougars the 19-year-old defenceman played in 170 games, notching nine goals and 45 points. Forsberg also had 379 minutes in penalties.
After two regular-season games in Seattle, Forsberg scored his first goal during a home-and-home series with the Portland Winterhawks which saw the teams split, each winning on the road.
Forsberg said he wants to show his T-birds teammates and coaches that he's a good leader, a good teammate and improve his skills with each game. He may be the newcomer in Seattle but Forsberg is the elder statesman on a very young T-birds' defensive unit that has four players born in 1995 and one each in 1994 and 1996.
"I just approach it the same way I did last year, going out on the ice and doing the things the coach wants, what's expected and passing that along to the younger guys," said Forsberg. "It's also just being a friend and talking to them. I've had a couple years experience with being a leader that it's just kind of second nature now."
T-birds head coach Steve Konowalchuk said when they opportunity to acquire Forsberg, and his leadership abilities, arose it didn't take the team long to get a deal done.
"It's very fortunate, obviously those guys usually stay within the locker room," said Konowalchuk. "He's a very, very quality person who is always committed to doing the right thing and also helping our younger guys move in the right direction."
Forsberg also had another new experience Friday - playing against his younger brother Alex for the first time.
"It's obviously going to be a little weird looking over and seeing him but once the puck drops he's any other player," said Forsberg. "We're both very competitive and we hate to lose. I'm sure were going to get into it just like any other players.
"I've got to hit him; he's too crafty with the puck,"he said. "If I lay off him he'll make me look stupid. I've got to play him as hard or harder than anybody else."