Foreman no joke -- on ice

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:12 AM ET

"George" can be a rather curious chap.

The London Knights claim their sparkplug forward Jordan Foreman, nicknamed George after the former heavyweight boxing champion and grill pitchman with the same surname, is a comic genius capable of keeping his teammates in stitches for hours on end.

"He could be a standup comedian," said longtime Knights trainer Don Brankley, who has seen his share of pranksters, joke-tellers and first-rate funny men pass through the team's dressing room over the years. "He's absolutely hilarious. He can be dry in his humour. He can be cutting. He's a very interesting character. He has his own personality."

The laughs have been louder since Foreman formed a one-man wrecking crew against Kitchener this past weekend, scoring four goals -- three short-handed -- in two games to keep London atop the Rangers in the OHL's Western Conference standings. The Knights lost 2-1 to Kitchener Thursday in overtime on a Foreman retaliation penalty at the John Labatt Centre, but he didn't wear the goat horns long with a hat trick Sunday in a shocking 6-3 win on the Rangers' home ice.

"Since I came back from Christmas, the puck's been going in for me," said Foreman, who has 21 goals and a league-leading six short-handed tallies. "I just wanted to come back and have a good second half to the season. I'm getting the chances. I've always played the penalty kill and short-handed opportunities really come down to just hard work and skating. You're down a man so you have to work harder."

Though the 19-year-old Cambridge native still gets ready for hockey games by eating Honey-Nut Cheerios and watching Don Cherry's Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em videos, there are few signs of quirky or comical behaviour once the puck is put in play.

At times, the five-foot-nine, 183-pound Foreman's snarly approach to the game is to pick out the largest skater in the other team's lineup and make that big guy's life miserable. Kitchener's six-foot-five defenceman Boris Valabik, for instance, would have a hard time pegging Foreman as anything close to a class clown.

"I've always played the game the same way," said Foreman, who is currently second in the OHL in penalty minutes with 185. "I like to hit and I like to go in the corners. I've been getting some more time on the power play. Last year, we had so much experience, it wasn't easy to get out there. This year, you don't want to waste a shift."

He'll fight guys a half-foot taller, and when he's not scoring short-handed markers, he has become adept at drawing penalties to negate power plays.

"He skates a million miles an hour," teammate Adam Perry said. "Short-handed goals are such an unexpected thing and give your team a huge lift. You're killing a penalty and you're worried they're going to score on you -- so to turn around and get one, that's big. Jordan's great at it. We have the friendly competition on who will score more goals this year and he's catching up. I have 24 and he has 21 now."

Though he's a long shot to be drafted by an NHL team this year, his performance reminds some of the way Knights head coach Dale Hunter used to play and there's always room in the game for hard-working guys, no matter their size.

KNIGHTWATCH

Friday: vs. Peterborough, 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre

Saturday: at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday: at Saginaw, 2 p.m.


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