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First Coast

Jacksonville's Former NHL Hockey Star Shares The Dream With A New Generation

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Provided by Brian Ferlin
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Jacksonville's Brian Ferlin played for the Boston Bruins.

Brian Ferlin was the first Jacksonville native to make it to the NHL in 2014 when the Boston Bruins selected him in the fourth round, 121st overall pick.

Before Ferlin’s dream became a reality he was grinding through the struggles of being a hockey player from Florida.

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Credit Provided by Brian Ferlin
Brian Ferlin's love of hockey developed as a child.

“When I started getting into my teen years I started getting on travel programs. They always had teams like a team Florida, which involved a lot of travel on the weekends. Car rides down to South Florida or flights up to Boston, Chicago and that takes up a lot of time,” Ferlin said.

He reflects on his journey stating, “It's definitely not easy, not as easy if you were up living somewhere where there’s more of a hockey environment but you can definitely make it work and make it happen.”

Most three-year-olds are not playing sports let alone ice hockey but Ferlin’s father, Mark Ferlin, got his son involved as soon as he was old enough to learn to skate. Turns out Ferlin was a natural.

He continued on to play on several different teams including Orlando stars, Florida Everblades and the Jacksonville Ice Dogs.

His perseverance earned him three years of an Ivy League education at Cornell University.

Ferlin’s college days helped shape him into the NHL player he would soon become. It wasn’t long until minor league teams started taking an interest.

It only took five months of perfecting his craft before teams started taking notice. Before he knew it, he was ascending to hockey’s top level and would soon be playing for a team that had just won the Stanley Cup.

After all the success, his career in the NHL ended in 2018. That’s the same year he married his college sweetheart and got the news he would be a baby boy’s dad.

Ferlin describes being a father as one of his greatest accomplishments. He hopes to pass down his love of sports and one day unpack the old boxes of jerseys he wore to give to his son, Beau.

Try Hockey Day 19’

Kids are being invited to come out and try hockey this Saturday morning to meet Ferlin and learn how to play the game he loves.

Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex General Manager Mark Scheff wants young children to know that just because they are from Florida doesn't mean they can't become a great hockey players.

Ten other Floridians have made those same dreams come true by making it to the NHL.  

  • Shayne Gostisbehere (Margate, Florida)
  • Dan Hinote (Leesburg, Florida)
  • Jakob Chychrum (Boca Raton, Florida)
  • Ryan Carpenter (Oviedo, Florida)
  • Garnet Hathaway (Naples, Florida)
  • Jayson Megna (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
  • Blake Geoffrion (Plantation, Florida)
  • Dallas Eakins (Dade City, Florida)
  • Jaycob Megna (Plantation, Florida)
  • Val James (Ocala, Florida)

“Ferlin went through from literally infancy through the Jacksonville ice hockey program and ended up on the Bruins for goodness sakes. There's no better example,” said Scheff.
Ferlin describes this event as, “being able to inspire these kids to work hard, have fun and despite growing up in Jacksonville, don’t let that stop them from achieving their dreams of playing in the NHL.”

The Event

Try Hockey Day wraps up a week of events around National Hockey Week Across America. The week is intended to celebrate the sport and expose the game to new audiences.

Children ages 4 to 9 are invited to join coaches for a free lesson from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex at 3605 Philips Highway.

Kids need to bring a helmet of any kind and a pair of gloves. Skates and sticks will be provided.

Jeff Bloomer, the Director of Hockey Operations at the Sportsplex, wants the community to know that you don't need to have any previous skating or hockey experience to join and have fun.

Samantha Kindler can be reached at 358-6317 or by email at newsteam@wjct.org.