Nick Foligno is the true definition of a leader.

The 36-year-old veteran Foligno went viral on Wednesday for an epic battle at the Chicago Blackhawks morning practice. Video taken by Chicago Blackhawks beat reporters shows Foligno battling intensely with Blackhawks rookie defenseman Kevin Korchinski in a one-on-one drill.

As both players battled for position in front of the net, Korchinski knocked down Foligno before the veteran came back at the youngster with a cross-check. After Korchinski broke out of the zone, Foligno applauded the rookie’s intensity and tapped him on the helmet.

Check out this intense battle at Blackhawks practice, courtesy of Chicago beat reporter Scott Powers.


You have to love Foligno engaging in an intense battle with the rookie and immediately congratulating him after. Many NHL players have spoken about how great of a teammate Foligno is.

The veteran Foligno could have easily lost his temper and gone after the rookie following their battle. Instead, he applauded the kid for giving him a good fight. That’s the type of leadership that builds a culture within an organization.

There’s another element to this story, too. Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson called out rookie blueliner Korchinski after the team’s game against the Kings. Richardson said he needed to get meaner after being pushed around too much in the loss. Message received.

Korchinski, a rookie this season, has scored nine points in 44 NHL games. He has two goals and seven assists. As one of the NHL’s youngest players, he averages 9:52 of ice time per game. Foligno has 14 goals and 27 points in 52 games this season with the Blackhawks.

Foligno was signed in the 2023 offseason by Chicago, in part because rookies such as Korchinski and phenom Connor Bedard needed protection and guidance. A prime example of this was a recent clip that showed Foligno telling Bedard, “There’s so much to teach you. I don’t have enough contact time…”

This “tough love” battle between Foligno and Korchinski is just another reason we love hockey.