By now everyone knows what an EBUG is.
We have the likes of Scott Foster and of course David Ayres to thank for that.
As David Ayres is making his way around the media circuit/circus today and rightfully so after a monumental victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Frederic Foulem is attending classes at University of Toronto.
Ayres electrifying performance on Saturday night on hockey’s highest level and perhaps largest stage has definitely sent shockwaves throughout the hockey world. Very few know what it’s like to be an EBUG.
Very few could relate to what David Ayres was going through strapping on the pads. Dieppe, New Brunswick’s own Frederic Foulem is in fact one of them.
“I’ve been an emergency back-up goaltender since my first year at U of T in 2017-2018,” said the third year business student.”
“I’ve never actually practiced with the Leafs, like Dave Ayres has, but that said, it could still be a possibility in case of sudden illness or injury.”
Foulem watched on Saturday night, as did the rest of the hockey world, but this time around it was from the comfort of his apartment not the Leafs dressing room.
What was going through your mind when you have been at NHL games as an EBUG?
“There were nerves during the first games, but they calm down after a while,” said the twenty-two year old netminder.
“It’s definitely special to live a semi-player experience during the games.”
Foulem will never forget his close call.
“In 2018, I was on duty for the Leafs game versus Dallas, and Frederick Andersen was injured in the 2nd period.”
“Now that’s where emotions sky rocket,” Foulem said.
“I was taken down to the Leafs facilities with my gear and got dressed. I got team pants and a jersey with my very own name on it.”
“That’s where every possible emotion went through my mind.”
“I watched the 3rd period fully dressed, ready to play.”
The game was tied at five in overtime when the unthinkable happened.
“Curtis McElhinney got a hard shot to the head that brought him down. In polite terms, you could say that I was losing it.”
“It’s a mix of extreme excitement and anxiety.”
“Fortunately for the team he was not injured and completed the game. My NHL debut was that close to becoming a reality,” confessed Foulem.
What was going through the former Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s goaltenders mind watching David Ayres Saturday night?
“I was anxious for him.”
“I loved seeing how much this meant to him and it was a lot of fun to watch.”
“That said, I was feeling some of the emotions I felt when I got to put an official Maple Leafs jersey with my name on it.”
“Dave pulled it off and got the win for the Canes, what a moment.”
Unlike long time General Manager turned broadcaster Brian Burke, Foulem was excited seeing Ayres get into a NHL game.
“Obviously, it was great to see him get his moment.”
“It’s extremely exciting to see that these moments can and/or will happen in the future.”
What would it mean to Foulem and his family if he ever entered an NHL game?
“Obviously, playing a game or even a period in the NHL would be a dream come true.”
“I don’t know how much I can express the feeling of getting my NHL debut, so I’ll wait until it happens to describe it.”
As for David Ayres’ NHL Debut?
“Perfectly,” said Foulem when asked how he thought Ayres handled the moment.
“When he or anyone else first steps on the ice, the feelings and emotions must be border-line non-human. I think after the second goal, a Canes player told him: “hey, we don’t care if you allow 10 goals, just have fun and enjoy the moment.”
“This ultimately what it comes down to, and Dave did just that. With that attitude, nothing can go wrong, and nothing did,” Foulem said.
Foulem’s journey in the game started like any other young Maritimer dreaming of playing at hockey’s highest level.
“I started playing the normal AA-AAA minor hockey route here in Dieppe and Moncton. In 2012, instead of playing Midget AAA, I chose to play for Stanstead College with the goal of earning an NCAA D1 commitment. After my second-year at Stanstead, I was humbled to earn a commitment to play for Harvard University. My senior year was my NHL draft year and I chose to go play at Shattuck St. Mary’s.
“I was ranked a “B” skater in the preliminary NHL CSS draft rankings and moved along the ranking throughout the year. In the spring of 2015, I decided to let go of my commitment to Harvard and sign with the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL.”
“For me, at the time, the move made sense. I wanted to go all-in with my hockey career. My window for the best junior hockey in the world was open, and I wanted to take the leap.”
“University would always be around, and the league’s school packages promote education at the end of the line. I knew that Canada had top-tier Universities, such as the University of Toronto or McGill, so school would always be there. I had so much fun playing in the “Q”. Instead of playing a 20-year old year junior, which would have been at the Junior A level, I chose to go to U of T as an underager.”
A decision to this day Foulem fully endorses.
“It was important for me to study at a renowned university to get the best education after my junior career. This year, the University of Toronto was ranked as the eighteenth best university in world and first in Canada, ahead of some American Ivy-League schools.
“Knowing that Canada had such prestigious universities which is often over-looked, it made my past decisions a lot easier. On the athletic side of things, I am confident that USports is one of the most under-estimated hockey leagues in the world. The level of play is comparable to the ECHL, and some even compared the top programs to AHL play.”
“This level of competitiveness makes it a no-brainer, considering the level of education you can receive while still playing hockey.”
“A USports career can very much lead you to a professional career, either the AHL, NHL, or top European leagues,” stressed Foulem.
“USports as a whole is an elite organization. Some members of our swim team are Olympians or will be in the future. Canadian Universities create great students and great athletes, and it is very humbling to be part of it.”
What would Foulem do if he ever gets the nod like Ayres did?
“I would focus on calming my emotions, and ‘being in the moment’.
“I would try my best to focus on every shot. I would just trust myself, know that I can stop a puck, and not overthink it.”
“If I can let go of the outcome, and enjoy every second of it, it can only be fun and go well.”
“It’s easy to say now without doing it, so who knows.”
Anything can happen when you’re an EBUG. Just ask David Ayres or Frederic Foulem.