The Connecticut Whale fans of Cetacean Nation have had the good fortune to be able to cheer on our Captain #28 Sam Faber, through three seasons now. Sam has played in some five dozen games for the Whale, and had a two year stint in the CWHL with the Boston Blades as well. Sam has also represented the United States several years on the world stage, winning a gold medal at the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Women’s Championship. In Sam’s words: “ Representing your country is one of the greatest feelings you can ever have. It definitely helped my game playing with and against the top players in the world. I learned a lot about myself and my game being a part of team USA.” Cetacean Nation posed some additional questions to our veteran leader, so we could learn more about her and her game as well. Let’s take a look at what she had to say.
Sam has been a multi sport athlete, and has found off ice success on both the soccer and lacrosse fields, sports that bracketed her winter hockey. As Sam relates: “My hockey career started in roller hockey. I first started playing ice hockey at nine years old. I played soccer until I was 17 and I only played two years of lacrosse at Northwood School.” Northwood was her prep school, and besides hockey, she earned varsity letters in her other two sports there. She added: ”Playing other sports as a kid is extremely important. Being a multi-sport athlete helps kids become more athletic in general. Coordination, agility and speed are all things developed playing other sports, that can help with the game of hockey.” In her final. season at Northwood, Sam recorded fifty goals, a long time gold standard for hockey players. During her college career at the University of New Hampshire, Sam continued perfecting her scoring touch averaging better than a point per game. She set numerous records while skating for the Wildcats and followed up her Hockey East Rookie of the Year selection with three straight seasons chosen as a Hockey East First Team All-Star.
Cetacean Nation asked if Sam was currently active in any of her other sports and if she had any thoughts on other women’s professional sports, Especially the recent development of the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League, considering her participation in sport in the past. Sam told us: “I do not still play the other sports, except for golf! Any news I see on new women's pro leagues is an awesome and exciting feeling. Those athletes that have spent their entire lives dedicated to lacrosse deserve a place to showcase their talents and be recognized for how great they are.” Turning the conversation back to the NWHL, we asked Sam about the state of her own league. “Every year our league seems to be getting more and more recognition from the media and from the hockey world as far as fans attending games and wanting to learn more about the women's game” she said. Adding: “More players seem to want to join our league as well and that proves how successful we have been in the first three seasons. There have been many changes to the Connecticut Whale over my first three years. But we also have some strong veterans that have been here since day one because of how much we believe in this sport and how we want to grow the game with the youth in Connecticut.”
Sam continues that mission in her life even when not skating the Whale.. She explained: “Currently I am the Mite Development Director at Sono Ice House in Norwalk, Connecticut (www.sonoicehouse.com). I take great pride in sharing my love and passion for the game with the youth in Connecticut. I love coaching little kids and seeing them fall in love with the sport I have loved my whole life. I also am trying to build a brand new girls program here called the Connecticut Jr Whale. We will have a U10 and U12 team this season and hopefully keep it growing in future years. These girls will have a unique opportunity to be coached by the "pros" and participate in events with our team. They will also have the best jerseys in the area!” Cetacean Nation imagines there will be a scramble for jersey number 28!
We also asked Sam about her other off season activities including her training as well. She responded: “I have taken some time off to give my body some time to rest, but I will be training with Johnny Longo this off-season in the gym at Sono Ice House. I want to make sure I am at my best and my body is injury free if I am going to play again next season. This will take some time for me to decide, but I truly hope I can be healthy enough to go. In the off-season, I love golfing and going fishing. Being out on the water is my calm place and something I always look forward to:” Cetacean Nation wishes Sam tight lines in her fishing adventures, an appropriately aquatic activity for a Whale.
As to Sam’s decision on whether she will play next year, everyone certainly hopes she is healthy enough and comes back to the Whale for the 2018-2019 season. But Cetacean Nation also understands the nature of the high contact sport of hockey, and all athletes at Sam’s level of experience are fighting a war of attrition with their own bodies. Players in the NWHL are the best of the best, and usually always have been. Correspondingly, they also get the most ice time, accruing more wear and tear on their legs and backs, and have taken and delivered more hits. We see the speed and skills of our players, and are aware of injuries that keep our favorites off the ice. But rarely are we privy to the cuts and bruises or strains and sprains our hockey players endure and play through, as a matter of course over their careers.. The physical, mental and emotional price you pay to be a professional hockey player in the NWHL cannot be overstated. Sam Faber as all athletes must, will make her best decision on when she pays her final installment. And either way, Samantha Faber will always be a Whale, always be our Captain.
Finally Cetacean Nation had to ask Sam for her thoughts regarding NWHL expansion, and she told us: “I would love for the league to continue to expand and I believe management in the NWHL is working hard to make this happen. Minnesota (State of Hockey) is a huge deal and we are super excited to see them join. There are so many great women players out there that deserve an opportunity to play and succeed in our league. Also hoping for Pittsburgh to work out as we have had two main events there in the last two years.”
Here’s Two Fins Up! to our Captain, #28 Samantha Faber for her insightful replies to our queries. And wrapping things up, Sam had this to say: “I'll end this with a quick shout out to our Connecticut Whale fans! You all are the best and you are why we are able to continue playing the game we all love so dearly. Thank you for all of your support and I hope to be back and see you all next season!”
For more thoughts from Sam see the article DAY’S OF FUTURE PAST on this site.