When Justin Faulk was asked to play for Team USA in the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation’s annual World Championship, his decision was simple.
So simple, the word “decision” might not even be applicable.
“It was an easy ‘yes,’ and I don’t think I could ever say ‘no,’” he said. “It’s an honor every time to put on the jersey, and I’d do it every time they ask.”
A native of South St. Paul, Minnesota, Faulk has been involved in the USA Hockey program for the duration of his hockey career – from youth hockey to the National Team Development Program to World Juniors and now the World Championship.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more from USA Hockey,” he said. “Everything they’ve done for me and everything they’ve done for a lot of other players, it’s been huge.”
Faulk points to his time with the National Team Development Program in 2008-10 as the most crucial in his USA Hockey upbringing. In those two years prior to attending the University of Minnesota Duluth, he competed against collegiate and international opponents, setting the single-season record for goals scored by a defenseman (21) in 2009-10. He also led the team that season with 14 power-play goals.
In 2010, as a member of the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team, Faulk won a gold medal in the IIHF’s World U18 Championship. Faulk netted the game-winning goal in the gold-medal game against Sweden.
The next year, he helped Team USA capture the bronze medal in the IIHF World Junior Championship. He was second among team defenseman in scoring with 4 points.
Now, he has his first shot at medaling with the team at the World Championship. Currently enjoying the down-time in Minnesota, he leaves for Europe on Saturday. Teammate Patrick Dwyer will too be donning the red, white and blue, a first for the 28-year-old forward.