It’s amazing what a difference a year makes on the ice and this rings true for USA Hockey National Team Development Program defenseman Brock Faber. He took to heart some lessons learned in spring training after his first season and is already reaping the rewards in his second year.
“[Training] really helps and gives us a chance to get bigger and stronger,” he said. “It helps play a role in our game especially when we start to play faster, stronger and older teams this year. It is going to be a huge benefit for us.
“I came in at 176 pounds and now, I’m between 190-193 so that is a huge difference and putting on weight is a good thing. The experience of playing against older guys really helps. The game starts to slow down and we can keep up with the speed and pace.”
The impact of added size and strength is such that Faber is already noticing the difference on the ice, even if it is only practice at this point.
“There is definitely a big difference between last year and this year,” he said. “The guys have gotten bigger, faster and stronger especially after the spring training and this summer. I put in the work and I am faster and stronger. I think we grew as a team.”
Faber and his Under-18 teammates open up play against the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Sept. 20 before playing two games at the United States Hockey League’s Fall Classic. He knows just how important it is to start strong, especially before the U18s open college play against Northern Michigan University on Oct. 5 and the University of Notre Dame on Oct. 6.
“I think the most important thing is that we need to play our game,” Faber said. “We have to play our style and maintain that intensity throughout the game. We have to take what we have gained in the weight room and practices and transition it into our play in games.
Photo: Rena Laverty
“I grew up watching college hockey and watching the players. It’s crazy to think that that time is here already. It’s very exciting. It has been a dream of mine to play against the top teams and it’s going to be special when we get to go out and play them.”
Right now, he is enjoying the unique practices, especially when they get to play small-area games.
“We have been playing against the U17s and it’s been an experience to see where they are,” said Faber. “You have to work hard but it’s fun to go against your teammates. It really helps with the transition game. We haven’t played a game yet but it’s a great way to get experience and work on different areas. I think it is very helpful.”
Another area that Faber has found advantageous is watching video with either the coaches, or his defensive partner, to help grow his game.
“It’s huge [watching video],” he said. “The coaches pull clips, especially of player comparisons that we tend to play like and want to have a game like theirs. We get to watch those guys and learn from them. It’s really helpful."
Photo: Rena Laverty
Of course, he does have one special player that he enjoys watching.
“I like to watch [NTDP defenseman from 2013-15] Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins,” Faber said. “I really like the poise that he has and how smart he is with his play. I’m not going to have the same style of game as him, but it’s great for comparison.
“I don’t want to copy him, but I want to translate some things he does to my game. The coaches really put in the time to help us become better players, whether it is watching film or working on something in the next practice.”
One thing will never change and that is how much Faber loves being able to wear the colors of his country each and every day.
“I know it’s cliché, but I love wearing the USA Hockey stuff,” he said. “It’s a tremendous honor to wear the colors and it’s nothing to take for granted. It’s so special to wear the clothes, the jersey and the crest. You are representing the USA. It’s definitely something bigger than yourself.”
Faber remembers the advice that he received from former NTDP player, Trevor Janicke (2016-18), who is also from the same hometown of Maple Grove, Minnesota.
“He told me that it was going to be hard and a challenge being away from home,” said Faber. “He told me it will be the best two years of my life. That was something that really stuck with me. It was hard at first to move away from home but that is where the bond between your teammates and coaches is so strong. I am with them every day, whether it is working out or getting home from a road trip late. We stick together.”
The funny part is that Janicke’s younger brother, Justin, is now in his first year with the NTDP and Faber has been able to return the favor to give him some advice.
“I definitely talked to him a little bit,” remarked Faber. “He always has his older brother to get advice. He did ask some great questions and I was completely honest with him. It’s hard but the two years are going to pass by very quickly.”
And for Faber, he is going to enjoy every moment of his second season with the NTDP.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.