Brian Ferlin is a lot more than a simple Florida hockey trivia question. The 20-year-old Ferlin is the first NHL prospect drafted from the hockey hotbed of Jacksonville, Florida, and he actually honed his hockey skills at camps run by Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy when he was coaching the Jacksonville Lizard Kings in the ECHL.
But Ferlin is much more than a Florida hockey footnote.
Hockey players come from all over the place, I guess, said Ferlin. My dad grew up in Chicago and then played baseball in Jacksonville University. He stayed once he graduated and he always loved hockey too. He had me playing all the sports when I was growing up, but I loved hockey the best.
The Cornell hockey player has also now put together a pair of solid development camps with the Bruins after being the final player selected in the fourth round of the 2011 Draft in Minnesota. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound power forward was routinely paired with creative playmaker Ryan Spooner during drills on the practice ice at Ristuccia Arena, and showed off the quick release and accuracy of a natural born scorer.
Just as his promising performance during last years development camp launched him into a solid freshman year at Cornell that earned him ECACHL and Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors, Ferlin hopes this years development camp launches him into another productive season.
I started off strong at Cornell, had a couple of injuries and then picked it up at the end of the year. It was a good year to build off of, said Ferlin. These development camps have really helped me. Just to see the way Im able to compete against the real high-end guys from major junior programs, and learn from them. Its been an awesome experience over the last two years.
His first year of college hockey was marred slightly by injuries in the middle of the year, but the Bruins are still more than satisfied by his progress.
Brian had a really good year. He was Rookie of the Year in both the Ivy and the ECACHL, I believe," said Bruins assistant manager Don Sweeney. "He had some injury troubles at two different times that set him back and obviously kept him out of the playoffs, which he was disappointed about. Offensively I think Brians game is pretty good. He understands how to protect pucks really well. Hes built for the cycle game. Hes got a good shot coming down the wing.
Hes continued to work on his skating and the power part of his game because hes a bigger kid. Defensively, I think hes still starting to understand how to apply the system work. Sometimes just being in the right spot is as effective as trying to outwork somebody and get into that spot.
Twenty-one points in 26 games during an injury-marred freshman year was a great start for Ferlin on his way to becoming much more than a bragging point for the Jacksonville wing in the Florida hockey hall of game.