Monday, December 29, 2014

Joel Farabee Becomes UNH's Youngest Recruit

14-year-old Joel Farabee Commits to UNH

Enter "Joel Farabee" into Google Search and you'll see a link to a YouTube video labelled "Filthy Dangle and Snipe by 14-year-old kid". It shows Joel Farabee (Pronounced fair-uh-bee) zipping around a defender and wristing the puck into the top corner. What's more remarkable is Farabee's actual age at the time. The goal was scored on February 21, 2013 at the Quebec International Pee-Wee Tournament. Farabee (DOB: 2/25/2000) was 12 years old, a few days shy of his 13th birthday.

The annual Quebec tournament, founded in 1960, attracts pee-wee teams from 16 countries and is considered the "Little League World Series" of hockey. In the 2013 tournament, Joel Farabee played for the Buffalo Junior Sabres 12U, an all-star squad representing Central and Western New York. He was a top player for the Syracuse Nationals Pee-Wee team. A native of Cicero, New York, Farabee grew up playing youth hockey with the Syracuse Nationals.

Farabee's highlight goal was the Jr. Sabres' 1st against the Detroit Honeybaked team who was ranked #2 in the United States. It marked the beginning of a dramatic, third-period comeback as the Buffalo squad downed Detroit 3-2. The Jr. Sabres 12U team won three out of four games in the Quebec International Tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals. Joel Farabee lead his team with 6 goals in 4 games.

Here's an updated video clip of Joel Farabee's goal in the 2013 Quebec International Pee-Wee Tournament. At the time, he was listed at 5'1" and 100 pounds.

Now, at the ripe old age of 14 years, 10 month, Joel Farabee has verbally accepted an offer to play for the University of New Hampshire. The 9th-grader becomes the youngest recruit to ever commit to UNH. Charlie Kelleher, the younger brother of UNH's second leading scorer Tyler Kelleher, previously held that distinction when he committed to UNH in August, 2012 at the age of 15 years, 6 months.

Farabee currently plays for the Selects Hockey Academy 16U team and attends the South Kent School in Connecticut. He has grown to 5'8" and 130 pounds. His team is a member of the United States Premiere Hockey League (USPHL) 16U division. In a league primarily composed of players 1 or 2 years older than he, Farabee is the Selects Academy's 5th leading scorer with 3 goals and 10 assists in 12 USPHL games. Here's a clip of his most recent goal scored in a 10-1 win over the P.A.L. Islanders on December 19th:

In addition to USPHL games, the Selects Academy U16 team plays an extensive schedule of non-league games. Last month, they won the New England Regional Tournament and earned a trip to the 2015 USA Hockey Tier I National Championships to be played next March in Buffalo. In the 16U Championship game, Farabee scored the Selects Academy's second goal in a 4-3 victory over the Connecticut Wolfpack. Here's that goal:

When Joel Farabee and the Selects Academy travel to Buffalo next spring, it will be his second consecutive trip to the National Championships. Last year, Farabee played his final season with the Syracuse Nationals organization. He played for the 1999 AAA Syracuse Nationals team that received an at-large bid to the 2014 USA Hockey Tier I 14U National Championship.

In the first game of the tourney, the Syracuse Nationals and Carolina Junior Hurricanes were tied 3-3 after regulation and overtime. Farabee assisted on two of the Nationals' goals. He was first up in the shootout and promptly scored. Then, in the shootout sudden death, Joel scored the game-winner. Here are both of his shootout goals:

The 14U Syracuse Nationals won one more game in the National Tournament, a 3-1 victory over the LA Junior Kings, but lost to the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies and Belle Tire. Although Joel Farabee was a year younger than most competitors, he finished the National Tournament as Syracuse's third leading scorer with 2 goals (in addition to the 2 shootout goals) and 2 assists in 4 games. In their review of the 14U National Tournament, US Hockey Report provided this assessment of Joel Farabee:
"The ’00 from Cicero, NY put himself on the radar at Nationals, showing that despite his age he was able to stand out among kids a year older than he. Farabee reminds us of Patrick Harper (NJ Rockets) in that he is small but possesses great hockey sense and instincts, is skilled with the puck, and uses changes of speed to create separation. He looked a little timid at times, but was able to produce a 2-2-4 line in 4 games as one of the tournament’s youngest players."
I had an opportunity to interview Joel, via email, about his background, commitment to UNH, and future plans:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Congratulations on your commitment to play for the University of New Hampshire. What are the main reasons you chose UNH?
Joel Farabee: Thank you, my family and I are both excited. I chose UNH because of their great campus and great coaching staff. UNH gives me the opportunity to be successful both on and off the ice. Lastly, I feel my hockey game fits right in.

Mike Lowry: What other college programs were you considering?
Joel Farabee: I visited a few ECAC schools, but it lastly came down to UNH and Cornell. I'm most confident in the decision I made because UNH will help me become a better hockey player and also I will be getting a great education.

Lowry: Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at UNH and join the team?
Farabee: We have not since I am only 14.

Lowry: As a 14-year-old - one of the youngest players in the USPHL 16U - you are the Selects Academy's 5th leading scorer with 3 goals and 10 assists. At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?
Farabee: I feel like the strengths in my game are my play making abilities. I make good passes and can see the ice pretty well. Some areas I'd like to improve on are using my speed more and, since I'm only 5'8, to get a little stronger.

Lowry: Last year, you played near your hometown (Cicero, NY) with the Syracuse Nationals U14 team that advanced to the National Championships. What were the main reasons you chose to enroll at the South Kent School (CT) this year and compete against older players with the Selects Hockey Academy team?
Farabee: Well, I've always played against kids older than me but every summer I'd play my age with the East Coast Selects summer program and (Selects Academy) Head Coach Devin Rask was one of the summer coaches. He introduced me to South Kent/Selects Academy and after seeing the campus and watching a couple games, I knew it would be a perfect fit.

Lowry: Do you plan on returning to Selects Academy to play next season and if so, will you play for the U18 team?
Farabee: Yes, I do plan on returning to Selects Academy. I do not anticipate playing U18 next year because I am so young.

Lowry: Do you anticipate playing junior hockey before coming to UNH? If so, what leagues would you consider playing in?
Farabee: Yes I do, I hope to one day make the NTDP (National Team Development Program) team. If not, I hope to play in the USHL.

Lowry: What grade are you in at the South Kent School and what are your academic strengths?
Farabee: I am in 9th grade, I feel like my academic strength is my work ethic. If I have a grade I don't like, I push myself and talk to my teachers to get the grade up.


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