Wednesday was a big hockey day for Minnesota Gophers hockey star Brock Faber. The Maple Grove native was one of a trio of Gophers who were officially named captains for the 2022-23 season early Wednesday afternoon. Just an hour later the news broke that Faber’s rights were being traded to his hometown Minnesota Wild along with a first round draft pick to the Los Angeles Kings for the rights to Kevia Fiala.
Faber along with seniors Jackson LaCombe and Jaxon Nelson were officially announced as the Captains of the 2022-23 Minnesota Gophers men’s hockey team in a press release Wednesday. Gopher head coach Bob Motzko was quoted in the press release as saying “These three are following in a long line of incredible Gopher leadership and I know they’ll continue to carry that tradition this season. They have given their heart and soul to this program so it’s only fitting that they have this opportunity to lead.”
LaCombe decided to come back to the Gophers for his senior season instead of signing with the Anaheim Ducks. As a three-year letter winner for the Gophers La Combe has scored 64 points in over 100 games in the maroon and gold. He has missed only four games in his career, all of which came while helping the U.S. National Junior Team win a gold medal at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. The Eden Prairie native was a 2020-21 Second Team All-America selection in his sophomore season and has earned a spot on an All-Big Ten Team each of the previous two years following B1G All-Freshman Team honors as a rookie. He set a career high recording 30 points, including a team-best 27 assists, a year ago.
Nelson also returns for his fourth season as a Gopher. He has skated in 90 career games registering 31 points with six power play goals. The Magnolia, Minnesota native returned from an injury a season ago to make a big impact in the post season. Minnesota is 21-6 overall when he scores at least one point during his three seasons.
Faber had a busy 2021-22 season that saw him not only help lead the Gophers to the NCAA Frozen Four but play not once but twice internationally for the USA. Faber joined LaCombe in winning a gold metal for the US at the 2021 World Juniors Tournament, and then was selected as one of three Gophers to play for the US Olympic Team in Beijing in the 2022 Olympics. When he was wearing maroon and gold not red white and blue, he was just as good. Faber was named the Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore last season, the third Gopher to ever earn the accolade, after being a finalist for the award during his freshman year. A two-time All-Big Ten selection, Faber set new career highs in 2021-22 recording 14 points, two goals and 12 assists, and also landed on the Academic All-Big Ten Team.
And now Faber will get to stay home to start his professional career. Brock was a 2nd round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2020 NHL Draft and was flirting with signing with the Kings this summer but decided to return to the U for his junior season. Now, Faber’s rights are headed to the Minnesota Wild along with a first round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft for Kevin Fiala.
Brock Faber was working on an essay for college when the trade went down. World-class skater, tough, right-shot defenseman, an area where the Wild are light in the prospect pool— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) June 29, 2022
It’s expected that Faber will play for the Gophers in 2022-23 and will sign with the Wild immediately following the end of the Gophers season—hopefully in mid-April sometime. Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin is expected to provide more details during a press conference later Wednesday afternoon.
Congrats to the Gophers trio of Captains, and Brock Faber for getting to hopefully stay at home in Minnesota for a long time going forward.