Joel Farabee, the Newest Piece to Flyers' Future, Is Just Like You

His favorite baseball player growing up was Chase Utley.

He tweeted #FlyEaglesFly on Feb. 4, and a few hours later, the Birds won their first Super Bowl.

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He loves Wawa and Pat's King of Steaks.

He has a summer house in Ocean City, New Jersey.

Joel Farabee is the most interesting man, not born in Philadelphia.

"I think there have already been a few people who have called me Joe-ELL," Farabee said.

It is not "Joe-ELL," it's "Jo-ull." Farabee will have to get used to it now that the Flyers drafted him with the 14th pick in last month's NHL draft. There are now two prominent Joels in town.

The other Joel - and just this one instance - is Joel Embiid, an established superstar in the NBA and a national treasure on social media. Farabee has a ways to go to reach that level.

"He's a great athlete," Farabee said. "Two different sports, two different names."

But that's not how it goes in Philly. We're famous for mispronouncing water. Farabee will have to deal with folks around here garbling his first name, at least until he creates his brand here. That is going to take time as Farabee has elected for the college hockey route and at 6-foot, 161 pounds, the Cicero, New York, native has his work carved out for him in the weight room.

Farabee departed Flyers development camp in Voorhees, New Jersey, two weeks ago to return home, pack his bags and head to Boston University for a summer Intro to Archaeology class. In the fall, he'll join a prestigious Terriers program that's historically churned out NHL players - Keith Tkachuk, Jack Eichel, Charlie McAvoy, Kevin Shattenkirk, Charlie Coyle, Clayton Keller.

The left winger originally committed to University of New Hampshire in December 2014 but de-committed after Scott Borek, who was an assistant at UNH, left for Providence College.

"When I committed there, I was 14," Farabee said. "I remember when I got offered, I didn't really know anything about college, so it was kind of a weird feeling. … Then [Borek] left, so I wanted to see some other schools. At the time I de-committed, I wasn't 100 percent sure I was going to leave. I saw some other schools. I really just felt like BU was a great place to play.

"But I think, all in all, I don't regret any decisions. I'm really excited to go to BU. The facilities there, the coaching staff is awesome. I'm just really excited to play there and be in Boston."

Development camp was the first chance for Flyers fans to see Farabee and for people who stuck around from Day 1 to the conclusion with the 3-on-3 tournament, they saw a steady progression. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall insists the camp is not for talent evaluation, but it's hockey in the summer, and it's the first time many can get a glimpse at their prospects.

Farabee showcased his skating, skill and shot throughout the camp but dazzled during the 3-on-3 tournament. Leading up to the draft, Farabee was described to have an accurate shot with a shoot-first mentality, which was the type of prospect the Flyers certainly needed.

In the 3-on-3 tourney, Farabee put that ability on full display. There was one part of his game that Hextall highlighted afterward that the naked eye doesn't necessarily see: deception.

"He disguises whether it's a shot or a pass," Hextall said. "He's got really quick hands. A lot of guys will come down, the goalie knows where they're going to shoot, so you see goalies make a save and go, ‘That was quick.' It really wasn't because they read the puck off the stick blade.

"The puck is really hard to react to. Joel hides things. If he's going to shoot the puck, he'll turn his hands real quick, bang and let it go. Or he'll open up for a shot and he'll pass the puck.

"A lot of top guys in the league, you wonder why they score or how that pass went through … they're showing hands to the defenseman, to the goalie. Joel is one of those guys."

The USA Hockey National Team Development Program had a pretty strong 2018 draft class with 16 players selected. The Flyers drafted two - Farabee and Gavin Hain (174th overall). Jay O'Brien, the Flyers' second first-round pick, had a brief stint with the NTDP but wasn't a regular.

Farabee played on a line with Oliver Wahlstrom, who was drafted by the Islanders with the 11th overall pick, and Jack Hughes, who's projected to go No. 1 overall in 2019, last season. During his age-17 season, he was with Wahlstrom and Jake Wise, who he'll play with at BU.

"It was really good. They're really elite players, they're really fun to play with," Farabee said. "They think the game really well. It makes the game a lot easier when you know where they're going to be. I really loved playing with them. I get to play with Wise at BU next year and I'll be playing against Wahlstrom at [Boston College], a little rivalry."

Circling back on that February Sunday evening that forever changed Philadelphia sports, Farabee, Wise and Wahlstrom were back together again. This time, with their billet family.

The trio, along with Mattias Samuelsson, the son of Flyers director of player development Kjell Samuelsson, watched the Eagles beat the Patriots, 41-33. Wise and Wahlstrom are Pats fans.

"It was a fun rivalry," Farabee said.

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