banner
Hurricanes

Faulk ready for Olympic hockey start

Posted February 11, 2014
Updated February 25, 2014

On January 1 after the Winter Classic a little kid skated onto the ice at Michigan Stadium and with millions of people watching, the last name Faulk appeared on the back of a Team USA jersey. And that is when Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk learned he was taking a trip to Russia.

“There was no call, I found out when everyone found out on the TV,” said Faulk.

It is a moment that Faulk got to share with some of his Hurricanes teammates.

“It was pretty funny because I had four or five guys hanging out in my hotel room in DC when it got announced we were watching the game," said Faulk. "It was a good feeling and we were pretty excited.”

During the last Olympic games, Faulk was 17 years old and he watched Team USA capture a silver medal in Vancouver. During this Winter Olympics, Faulk will try to help the United States bring back a gold medal from Sochi, Russia. That is a feat that has not happened in 34 years when the much storied ‘Miracle on Ice’ group of college players pulled off the biggest upset in hockey history. If you do the math, Faulk was not around to witness that, but it is a tale that is well known.

Faulk found out about America’s last gold medal in greater detail thanks to Hollywood and the movie starring Kurt Russell playing USA Hockey coach Herb Brooks.

“You can say ‘Miracle’ was a big movie growing up for me and some of my friends," said Faulk. "The Olympics were always in my mind as a kid especially one of the reasons was because of that movie ‘Miracle’. I have been lucky enough to wear the USA jersey quite a few times so far. Just to have the opportunity to do it at the Olympic level is something even more special and I’m looking forward to it.”

Faulk has known success in his career, winning a national championship playing college hockey for the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He has also won gold, playing for the United States at the IIHF World Under 18 Championships in 2010 and Bronze in 2011 at the World Junior Championships. It is that international experience and how Faulk has excelled in those tournaments that put him on the radar of Team USA.

But Faulk really stepped into the spotlight during the 2012 World Championships, scoring four goals and adding four assists in just eight games. Not only did it catch the eye of the American hockey contingent, but his NHL head coach Kirk Muller was behind the bench as an assistant for the Canadian team and knew that this year it wouldn’t be a surprise for his blue-liner to get the nod to play for Team USA.

“No, no, I talked to Tony Granato in the summer when they called me about him. Was this a guy we should have on our radar? And I said absolutely,” said Muller.

Muller said that because of how steady Faulk plays that he won’t pull you out of your seat, but it is how he plays the game that put him on the roster.

“You know what, you have to really watch him, you have to watch his game, he does all the little things well that you are going to like. So when you watch him play, check him out that way," said Muller. "He had a great year right from the start, so he earned the spot and earned his way onto that hockey team.”

Faulk knew that he had a chance this summer to head to his first Olympic games.

“I guess kind of from the summer that I was in the mix of things," said Faulk. "They told me at orientation camp I had a chance to make the team.”

There were two much publicized articles about the US Hockey Team and its selection process, for Faulk he was a bit relieved that he wasn’t a big part of that story.

“I did read that, there was talk around the [Canes] room for quite a bit. It was an interesting selection process and obviously it was nice to see that I was kind of on the team from early on or at least in a position early on that I had more of an opportunity to make the team," said Faulk. "But at the same time, when I read that I had already made the team. So it really didn’t change my feelings too much on that. Maybe if I went to make the team and I played my way off the team I would have been a little more hurt by that.”

His play this season teamed up with Slovakian Olympic defenseman Andrej Sekera did nothing to dissuade the men picking the US team. In the ironic twist that sports can bring, the US opens up against the Slovaks and the American doesn’t think it is a big deal playing against his defensive partner.

“It will be alright I think. Obviously we know how each other plays and everything like that. Probably a little friendly wager on it and it’s no different than playing against other friends throughout the league I guess. I am lucky that I have some buddies in the league and I get to play against them every now and then," said Faulk. "There is still that friendly competition, I’m sure it will be the same when I go up against him.”

The Olympic game is played on a wider rink (200’ x 100’) than the NHL (200’ x 85’), which provides different challenges for defenseman.

“Teams play a little bit of a different style just because it is tough to play that real physical game when you have fifteen more feet wider to go to try and check or hit somebody. Being in position is a real big thing,” Faulk said. 

But the bigger surface and quicker pace might play into the kind of game that Faulk plays.

“You do have more time to make plays with the puck. It is a fast game though because there is more skating," said Faulk. "You get an extra half second or so to make a play with the puck and for me I think that suits my game, I like to skate a little bit and I think I skate well enough for the big ice and that helps me out a little bit.”

The Sochi games aren’t just big for Faulk, making the American squad might be a bigger sense of pride for his mom.

“She’s pretty fired up, it’s pretty funny. Because she says ‘congratulations and I am so excited to get over there’ and I give her some grief like okay you said that fifteen ties already,” joked Faulk.

But on a serious note, the Canes defense is proud to share the moment with the woman that he credits to being the biggest influence on his career.

“It’s good and I am happy she gets to enjoy it with me,” Faulk said.

Even with international experience, Faulk knows the drop of the puck in Sochi will be different than previous times wearing the Red, White and Blue.

“With the Olympics, you have kind of the tops guys from every country or what they think is the best team from every country. So definitely the stakes are higher, it’s more exciting and more to it,” said Faulk. “I think I’ll be alright, just going out there and playing my game and as if it were another game. I’ll try not to get too caught up in the moment that it’s the Olympics. It’ll be a fun experience”

With the career path that he is on, this seems to be the start of many moments on a big stage for the American defenseman. It might not be a 'Miracle' if the United States wins the tournament, but it can be a golden moment and that would be the perfect movie ending.

2 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • JPack Feb 12, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Haha. I see they edited it. Good job WRAL

  • JPack Feb 11, 2014

    "Faulk will try to help the United States bring back a silver medal from Sochi, Russia."
    Um.... I know we don't have a chance at gold, but isn't THAT what he will "try" for?

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Tomorrow at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Tomorrow at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Minnesota

    Tonight at 8:00 on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
MIN
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
TOR
1:05pm Today
STL
HOU
 
1:05pm Today
BOS
MIA
 
1:05pm Today
TAM
MIN
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
ATL
WAS
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
BAL
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
DET
 
3:05pm Today
SDP
CWS
 
3:05pm Today
CHC
CIN
 
3:05pm Today
CLE
KAN
 
3:05pm Today
MIL
LOS
 
3:05pm Today
TEX
SFG
 
3:05pm Today
LOS
SEA
 
3:10pm Today
ANA
COL
 
3:10pm Today
ARI
OAK
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
PIT
 
7:00pm Tonight
IND
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
MIA
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
SAC
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
TOR
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
UTA
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
CLE
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
BOS
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
DET
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
LAL
8:00pm Tonight
BRK
PHO
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
DEN
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
DAL
Half
MVSU 33
ARKPB 41
 
Half
CSOU 20
LONG 29
 
1:05pm Today
WICHS
SILL
2:00pm Today
RAD
WINT
 
3:35pm Today
ILLST
EVAN
6:00pm Tonight
HIGH
GWEBB
 
6:00pm Tonight
UNCG
SAMF
6:00pm Tonight
ELON
TOWS
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
AKR
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
BGU
 
7:00pm Tonight
DART
BRO
 
7:00pm Tonight
WMICH
CMICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
PENN
CLMB
 
7:00pm Tonight
PRIN
CORN
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
ILLCH
7:00pm Tonight
OHIO
UMO
 
7:00pm Tonight
BST
NILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
EMICH
TOL
 
7:05pm Tonight
NIOWA
BRAD
7:30pm Tonight
MURST
MORE
8:00pm Tonight
CCAR
UNCA
 
8:00pm Tonight
HARV
YALE
 
8:30pm Tonight
DREX
COC
8:30pm Tonight
CITA
FUR
9:00pm Tonight
USF
PAC
9:00pm Tonight
BAY
TTU
9:30pm Tonight
EKENT
BEL
9:30pm Tonight
CLST
DET
9:35pm Tonight
INDST
LOYC
11:30pm Tonight
SCU
LMU
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
CLB
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
MIN
7:30pm Tonight
OTT
BUF
7:30pm Tonight
DET
CAL
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
EDM
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
PIT