When lacing up the skates for the Prince George Cougars became a chore, Alex Forsberg knew he needed a change of scenery to rekindle his love for the game.
“I knew I needed to ask for a trade when I stopped having fun in Prince George,” says Forsberg, the Cougars’ first overall pick of the 2011 Western Hockey League bantam draft. “I felt I needed a change. And I had to ask for a trade to get that.”
Forsberg’s decision to ask Cougars GM Dallas Thompson for a trade wasn’t viewed as “the right thing to do." The majority frown upon players that ask for a one-way ticket to a different city.
But at the end of the day, if Forsberg isn’t having fun playing hockey, shouldn’t he have the right to do what he thinks will bring back the enjoyment? After all, if he doesn’t look out for his best interest, who will?
The 18 year old wouldn’t dissect his problem with the Cougars organization. He did, however, mention his frustration with playing on a losing team.
“I’m not going to badmouth the team,” says Forsberg. “A lot of my best friends are still on that team. But it was tough to not be on a team with a winning attitude. I just felt we could have been better than we were.”
When asked if the Cougars' decision to fire head coach Dean Clark on Jan. 22 was the right move, Forsberg continued to take the high road.
"You don't want to see anyone get fired," he says. "They are doing better now than they were before, though. I know the guys like the new coach (Mark Holick)."
When Forsberg's agent told him on the Jan. 10 trade deadline that Thompson chose to hang on to him, he was disappointed, feeling he gave the Cougars ample enough time to find a suitor for him.
“It was a tough day,” says Forsberg. “I thought I would be traded. I talked to my agent all day and he thought a trade was close. But then I found out they decided to keep me. I gave them about two weeks notice before the trade deadline. I thought that was enough time to work out a deal."
With returning to Prince George for the remainder of the season not in the cards for Forsberg, he decided to head to Humboldt to play for the Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
“I love it here,” says Forsberg, who has scored five goals and 12 points in 12 games with Humboldt. “We have a great team. My coach, Dean Brockman, is easily the best coach I have ever had. He is great at working with the team and getting wins out of us.”
The feeling is mutual for Brockman.
“Alex was a great pickup for us,” says the Broncos GM-head coach. “One of our scouts got word he might not return to Prince George, so I quickly listed him hoping he might come here. He has been a great offensive player for us. We are happy to have him.”
The 5-foot-11, 184-pound centre hopes he can help the 33-11-2-2 Broncos win an SJHL championship and advance to the RBC Cup.
“The goal is to win here,” says Forsberg. “I’m not focusing on my stats or anything. I just want to take it one game at a time and help my team win.”
Although he tries not to think about it, the 2013 NHL entry draft is still in the back of Forsberg’s mind.
“I hope an NHL team drafts me,” he says. “But I know there is a chance I might not be drafted. I have come to terms with that. I am still young, though. There have been lots of good players in the NHL who weren’t drafted. I will have other opportunities to prove myself in the future if it doesn't work out."
It is tough to say whether the Waldheim, Sk., native will be selected in New Jersey. His draft stock has greatly fallen. He has went from being regarded as a possible top-60 draft pick after his rookie season in Prince George to going unlisted by NHL's Central Scouting Service in their preliminary rankings.
Nonetheless, if the Broncos make it to the RBC Cup, one can assume more NHL scouts than usual will make it out to the junior 'A' championship, which is held in Summerside, P.E.I.
Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen