David Farrance played his final game as a member of the Victor High School hockey team on March 7, 2015 when they lost 5-1 to Christian Brothers Academy/Jamesville-DeWitt in the state quarterfinals. Earlier that day, the defenseman played a game with the Syracuse Stars at the HaborCenter.
2 years and 3 months later, Farrance was back at the HarborCenter taking part in the NHL Combine.
In that time, Farrance has done a lot of growing up.
After his sophomore season, the defenseman was offered the opportunity of a lifetime. To represent his country.
Farrance was invited to play for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.
It was a big decision for a 15 year-old, as it would mean leaving home and spending two years in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
But it’s a decision that he certainly does not regret and believes has prepared him for the next stage of his life.
“You really grow-up and mature,” Farrance said. “It puts you through some tests, like getting to school on your own without saying ‘Hi’ to Mom and Dad before you leave. You have to take care of yourself.”
Farrance played two seasons picking up 55 career points on the NTDP playing against USHL and NCAA competition. He also played on the National 17U and 18U teams in five international tournaments.
The 17 year-old just came back from helping Team USA win gold in Slovakia this past April.
Now he’s back home (or about an hour and half drive away) in Buffalo meeting NHL teams and getting tested three weeks before his dreams will come true.
“It’s been a quick turnaround, it was a great time in Europe,” Farrance said. “Coming back here it feels great to be home. Love being in New York.”
Growing up in Rochester, Farrance was lucky enough to skate around NHL players, Ryan Callahan and Sabres’ captain Brian Gionta.
He believes that experience will be big for him for years to come.
“Working with guys like that really helped me,” Farrance said. “Rochester is such a great community to be a part of. I have tough shoes to fill. But, I’m happy to represent Rochester.”
The draft also happens to fall on the defenseman’s 18th birthday.
Farrance is looking forward to the future, playing college hockey. He has been committed to Boston University since year the beginning of his sophomore year.
“I love the city of Boston,” Farrance said. “It’s close to Fenway and I know a couple of the guys. I’m excited to be there.”
About a hundred yards away, fans were gathering in the Tops Alumni Plaza and they are looking forward to the future too.
It was Buffalo’s turn to host the NHL Centennial Fan Arena this weekend. The tour is part of the NHL’s Centennial celebration. The event included the multiple attractions that helped recall historic moments in both Sabres and NHL history. Fans also had the ability to drive a Zamboni, in virtual reality. There was a “Pop-Up” rink for kids to play in and of course Lord Stanley’s Cup was there so fans could take pictures with the cup.
Fans for the most part were optimistic about the future of the Sabres, despite all the changes that have taken place and have yet to take place during the spring. Others are worried about the future, and even question whether Jack Eichel is the future for Buffalo.
Jacob Joldos, 11, of the town of Tonawanda, isn’t questioning the former No. 2 draft pick. Joldos and his younger brothers were all wearing their Eichel jerseys to the event Saturday.
“He’s only been playing the NHL for two years and he’s already grown so much,” Joldos said.
Justin Selak of the city of Tonawanda also came out Saturday with his young son to see the Cup for the very first time. His son, Trevor, loves and plays hockey.
Selak did not expect to see this much turnover during the offseason, but still remains hopeful for the future.
“I was surprised by the firing of (Tim) Murray, I thought he was heading in the right direction,” Selak said. “I look forward to see what they’re going to do. I think a few pieces is all they need.”
The NHL Draft will be June 23-24 in Chicago.