LA Kings Prospect Brock Faber to Prepare “Like a Tiger” for Next Season

Mar 14, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Minnesota's Brock Faber (14) shoots against Michigan State at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY NETWORK
Mar 14, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Minnesota's Brock Faber (14) shoots against Michigan State at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY NETWORK /

While 2020-21 marked a transitional year for the LA Kings, fans have little reason to fret about the club’s future, especially with prospect Brock Faber.

While they may have hit the proverbial jackpot with Quinton Byfield at last October’s NHL Draft, the LA Kings were far from finished as they selected, among others, highly-touted Brock Faber in hopes of becoming a solid fixture in the club’s future plans.

A defensive-minded blueliner, Faber entered last fall’s Draft with a plethora of excitement. So, when the Kings selected him 45th overall, that excitement only intensified. However, if anyone was expecting Faber to make the jump to the professional ranks right away, they would be disappointed.

Of course, while he is just 18 years old, Faber has made significant strides in his game, especially after playing for the United States National Team Development Program since 2018. But, until the youngster began his collegiate career, very little would be decided about Faber’s future.

A little over a month after the Kings drafted him, though, Faber began his collegiate career at the University of Minnesota. As a freshman, Faber excelled, leading the Golden Gophers to a dominant 24-7 record (16-6 against Big Ten opponents).

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Golden Gophers assistant coach Garrett Raboin about Faber, his season, and the eagerness of preparing for next season.

First Impressions

While his performance and development with the USNTDP were exceptional in itself, Brock Faber was set to face a new challenge.

Embarking on a collegiate career can be nerve-wracking for any player, especially when they are about to suit up for one of the most prestigious hockey programs in the country. This was just the case for Faber, who joined the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2020.

Set to make a promising first impression on his new school, Faber garnered immediate intrigue from his coaching staff, including the aforementioned Garrett Raboin.

“Well, we knew we were going to get a tremendous player out of the [United States] National Team Development Program,” the Gophers assistant began. “His coaches there were Seth Appert and Nick Fohr and they couldn’t have spoken more highly of him. So, we were just excited to get him on campus and add him to our group.”

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Upon being drafted, Brock Faber, a native of Maple Grove, MN, was already known for his sharp defensive prowess and his promising skating ability. Still, there was work needed in both areas upon his arrival to Minnesota to go along with adding some punch to his offensive game.

After a full season down, the Golden Gophers assistant coach was very pleased with his blueliner’s progress.

“We thought he made tremendous strides and, as I said, we knew we were getting a darn good player coming onto campus,” beamed the 36-year-old. “But, once he arrived here, in a real quick hurry, we knew just how special he was, and it’s not only on the ice but in his intangibles.”

As rare as it may be to see immediate leadership qualities in freshmen, Faber set a new standard, if you will, showing his coaching staff and his teammates that in spite of his lack of experience, he showed that he could come in and take control when he needs to.

“He’s an all-front leader, even as a freshman,” Raboin added of Faber. “He doesn’t take a sidestep to anyone. He’s very respectful but very business-like in how he approaches the game. We knew after a very short time, that he was going to have a major impact on college hockey. Then, I think as the season progressed with the opportunity to go to World Juniors, to win a gold medal, and really be a big part of that group, my thick eyes were open to really [see] what a bright future this young man has.”

If these assets weren’t enough, though, Faber displayed his toughness and his drive at a crucial point in his team’s season.

“At the end of the year, he showed his warrior side: Injured in the Big Ten tournament, got through it, played heavy minutes,” Raboin noted. “Then, onto the National tournament, our first game there, he comes out with five assists. Just a real, real strong player exciting player for us here at the University of Minnesota and we couldn’t be more excited about his future.”

With their aforementioned 16-6 conference record, the Golden Gophers, thanks in part to Faber’s contributions, finished atop the Big Ten standings in 2021.

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Overall Attitude

In hockey or any sport, for that matter, a player is only as good as his attitude.

There have a number of examples of the years of athletes who have all the talent in the world but fizzle out due to having a bad attitude.

Garrett Raboin is beyond confident in betting that this will never be the case for Brock Faber. While old adage, “Never say never,” can apply to just about anything, the Gophers assistant certainly has no reason to worry if the 18-year-old’s freshman campaign is any indication.

“He’s a tremendous teammate, and it is just a pleasure to show up to the rink every day to be around players of his caliber,” Raboin fondly observed. “You know, he’s a young man but he carries himself very well, very mature. And he’s got a great energy about him but, as I alluded to earlier, when it’s time to go, the way he pushes his teammates in practice, the way he shows up ready to go for games and compete at a high level. I think his teammates and his coaches have all taken notice of what a special young man he is.”

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Looking Forward to Next Season

After establishing himself as a reliable performer and a solid leader at Minnesota — and a gold-medallist at the World Juniors for Team USA — it can be easy to forget that Brock Faber only wrapped up his first season in college. Nevertheless, these points have been the ideal ingredients for a palpable eagerness for what Brock Faber and the Minnesota Golden Gophers will have in store for 2021-22.

“We’re really excited,” beamed Raboin. “There’s that sour taste in our mouth, a lot like many teams across the country, who don’t win their last game. And our guys, similar to every other college team in the country, that were short of the summer.”

This coming summer may also see some positive changes. After all, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Faber and his new teammates were unable to get together last summer to train. But hey, just more reason to look forward to this summer.

“They really didn’t have the opportunity to lift at the level that they typically do, they weren’t allowed to be around each other and do some of that team-building stuff that happens in the offseason,” explained Raboin. “We’re really excited for him to have all that and really get a good summer under his belt.

With great performance, though, comes great responsibility and as a sophomore, Faber will be asked for more from the Gophers coaching staff.

“Even though he’s an underclassman, we’re asking him to grab ahold and lead this group, to be a part of that leadership group,” Raboin said. “And as he continues to grow his game, we know he’s gonna attack the weight room like a tiger. We’re just excited for him to take those natural development steps and show back up here in the fall and go to work.”

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In spite of the way their 2020-21 season went, the LA Kings have very little reason to feel discouraged.

Boasting one of the NHL’s top prospect pools is reason enough for the Kings to be an exciting team to watch for years to come, and Brock Faber plays a major role in this.

We may not see him suiting for the silver-and-black soon but Brock Faber will take his time to develop into an even better player, playing for one of the United States’s most prestigious hockey programs. Garrett Raboin, the Golden Gophers, its students, and fans are all excited for what more Faber can offer and, in due time, the LA Kings and their fanbase will revel in said excitement, as well.

So, stay tuned. Brock Faber is on his way.

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