Homework can wait for Brock Faber as the new Gophers co-captain ponders a future with Wild
One day after becoming a Minnesota Gophers co-captain and seeing his NHL rights traded to the Minnesota Wild, Brock Faber talked about the whirlwind past 24 months and his bright on-ice future.
MINNEAPOLIS — For many, many hockey players raised in Minnesota, being named a captain of the Gophers would be a career highlight. For Brock Faber, learning he would wear the ‘C’ for the maroon and gold during the coming season was the second-best bit of news he got on a sunny, windy Wednesday.
A few hours after Faber, Jackson LaCombe and Jaxon Nelson were officially named the Gophers’ captains for 2022-23, Faber silenced his phone and was trying to finish some homework when he noticed it kept buzzing. When he finally noticed that the general managers from the Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild had called him, Faber’s hockey career trajectory had taken a notable turn.
Having grown up rooting for the Minnesota Wild and owning, in his estimation, “hundreds” of Wild jerseys between Brock, his parents and his two sisters, Faber now has the chance to make a Wild sweater his “work clothes” as early as the spring of 2023. Minnesota GM Bill Guerin traded the rights to Kevin Fiala to the Kings on Wednesday, getting a first round draft pick and the rights to Faber in return.
“It was a pretty crazy, crazy day, but it was a special one, and one that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Faber said on Thursday, meeting with reporters in the lobby of the U of M Athletes Village. He admitted that his homework assignment might be turned in late as a result of Wednesday’s interruption. “I was trying to focus and then there wasn’t much more school done yesterday.”
Drafted by the Kings in the second round in 2020 before his Gophers career began, Faber had been to Southern California to meet with team officials and had trained for the 2022 Winter Olympics with Team USA at the Kings’ practice facility in suburban Los Angeles.
But as exciting as the prospect of playing pro sports in sunny SoCal might have been, Faber admitted that alongside the Gophers, a local NHL team in forest green and Iron Range red has always been his first love.
“Ever since I started playing hockey, it’s been the Gophers and the Wild. Those are the two teams you want to play for someday,” he said. “So playing for the Gophers right now and possibly having the opportunity to play for the Wild in the future, it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”
Since returning to his home state for college after two seasons with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Michigan, Faber’s hockey resume over the past 24 months includes regular season and playoff titles in the Big Ten, a World Juniors gold medal, a trip to the Olympics, a trip to the Frozen Four and being named the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year last season.
“It’s been a crazy couple years for me, obviously, and it’s been a pretty special two years for me as well,” he said. “I’m super excited for all the opportunities I’ve gotten with USA Hockey and getting drafted and the Gophers and things like that. I’m just looking to build on it now.”
The start of the Gophers’ season is still more than 90 days away, and the full schedule has not yet been released, but the non-conference portion includes a home-and-home series with Minnesota State Mankato in early October, and Faber admitted those games are circled on the calendar.
“Since I’ve been a Gopher, they’ve ended my season twice now, so we’re really looking forward to that one,” Faber said of the series versus the Mavericks. “You go to bed and you’re thinking about it already, and it’s not for three months yet.”
With that, a part of the Minnesota Wild’s future said thank you and headed for his home, noting that once things calmed down a little, he had homework to finish.