BostonBruins.com - Typically, you would not expect a Jacksonville native to be interested in hockey. With its warm weather climate, Florida is more known for baseball and football talent. However, there is hockey talent to be found there too and the Bruins found it.
In 2011, the Bruins became the first team to select a native of Jacksonville in the NHL draft when they picked forward Brian Ferlin in the fourth round. Despite growing up in area not known for hockey players, Ferlin’s love for the game began at an early age.
“My dad’s from Chicago, Illinois so he played growing up,” said Ferlin about how he came to love hockey.
“He played baseball so he ended up going to college in Florida and playing baseball. He just stayed there. He just loved hockey. He played it growing up. He just got me into it when I was little. I tried it out and I just loved playing.”
Now, Ferlin is a three year veteran of development camp and is about to enter his third year at Cornell University. Last year, he put up 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points in 34 games. He really improved in Cornell’s final five games, where he had four goals. As a prelude to hopefully suiting up for the Bruins one day, Ferlin is used to playing on big stages.
“You know what I think we played at Madison Square Garden both years,” recalls Ferlin about his favorite moment so far at Cornell.
“First year against BU and then the second year against Michigan so yeah it was pretty special playing in front of 18,000 people in front of two great opponents so that was probably my biggest moment.”
Although he has had success at Cornell and is a veteran of development camp, Ferlin knows he still has room to improve.
“I think my first two years I think I put half the year together both years. So I guess in terms of high level of play, I think I’m just trying to be consistent and consistency is my biggest thing,” said Ferlin about what he is trying to work on.
“Just try to keep my feet moving, keep hitting, keep playing physical, and, most importantly, moving my feet and taking pucks to the net.”
One of the players Ferlin admires because he takes the puck to the net so well is current Bruin Milan Lucic.
“As far as someone I model my game after, I like watching Lucic play—just his physicality and how he is taking pucks hard to the net. He’s big and strong out there so he’s definitely fun to watch.”
With all of this experience, while knowing he still has room to improve like all the players at development camp this week, Ferlin is always willing to step up and be a leader for younger players.
“I think I remember my first camp,” recalls Ferlin. I came in a little nervous, a little jittery not really knowing what to expect, but it’s nice being in my third year here being a little more comfortable.”
“Yeah, definitely if I can reach out to any of the younger guys if they need help or have questions I try to answer them and try to help out whenever possible.”
This camp has definitely improved Ferlin’s game as he seeks to grow into a better player entering his third year at Cornell.
“Yeah, I mean it’s only a week long so you fit a bunch of stuff in. You’re really working hard for a week so I think obviously it improves your skating, improves your conditioning level, but I think most importantly you kind of get to see how pros operate and how they do things,” said Ferlin about the value of development camp.
“I think it’s just kind of a new mindset. It opens your eyes a little bit so I think when you go back to school or any team wherever you play you kind of take a little bit of the pro mentality with you. Just stretch and do all the little things that they teach you here that are so important in the long run.”
--Written by John Morton