Don't look back.
For Alex Forsberg, there's only one way to go as he heads into his third season with the Prince George Cougars, the team he quit midway through the 2012-13 season.
It's a fresh start under a new head coach for the multi-talented forward, whose hockey skills as a bantam were impressive enough for the Cougars to choose him first overall in the 2010 WHL draft. Forsberg has a lot to prove to himself, his team and the fans who will pay to see him play this winter at CN Centre but he wouldn't be here if he was not prepared to do what it takes to make his team's season a success.
"It's a new year and I've changed a lot in the last year and the organization has changed a lot, so I'm just looking forward," said Forsberg. "I'm just looking forward to this year, I really don't want to think about anything that happened last year.
"My goal is just to get back on the radar. I know I'm a good hockey player and I can perform good, I just need to be more consistent and expand my role from just a skill guy to an all-around guy and a leader. I've had a tendency to take some shifts off but I'm going to really focus on trying to work hard every shift and good things will come."
In 87 career games with the Cougars, Forsberg totaled 24 goals and 59 points. He was limited to nine goals and 10 assists in 31 games last season. He says he's been working hard throughout the summer with trainer Kelly Riou and his brother Jesse, a 20-year-old defenceman for the Seattle Thunderbirds, following a schedule of three ice sessions per week in Saskatoon trying to improve his quickness on the ice.
While Forsberg would not acknowledge it, it's believed he had a personality clash with head coach Dean Clark who criticized Forsberg's work ethic. Clark was fired a few weeks after Forsberg left. Mark Hollick has taken over as the Cats head coach and Forsberg is looking forward to working with him.
"It'll be good, he seems like a really good coach," said Forsberg. "He works you hard, but if you're willing to put in the work he'll play you a lot. I'm just going to prove myself to him here and work my ass off.
"The players were really good about the whole thing and they're excited for me to come back and I'm excited to play with them."
Forsberg asked for a trade last December and returned to his home in Waldheim, Sask. The Cougars didn't like what other teams were offering in return and he ended up playing the rest of the season in the SJHL for the Humboldt Broncos. Dallas Thompson, the Cats' GM who picked Forsberg in the draft, is glad to see him back and despite what transpired last season there are no hard feelings.
"Alex has been around her for a week and everything's great," said Thompson. "It looks like he worked hard in the summer, he's in pretty good shape and he wants to get going as so do we. Whatever happened is in the past. We're looking for guys who will make us a better hockey team and Alex can be one of those guys."
LOOSE PUCKS: Described by Thompson as "an aircraft carrier," six-foot-six, 237-pound import defenceman Martin Bobos will be noticeable presence on the blueline this weekend at his first Cougars training camp. The Slokanian native was picked 64th overall by the Cats in the 2013 import draft.
Bobos is skating for Team Mason along with Forsberg and David Soltes, a six-foot, 185-pound forward from Slovakia who scored four goals in six games at the 2013 world under-18 championship. Soltes went fourth overall in the 2013 import draft.