In the past year, defenseman Justin Faulk has played for Team USA in the IIHF World Junior Championship and won an NCAA championship with Minnesota-Duluth as a freshman.
"I guess I can't ask for a better year than that," Faulk said today.
Faulk says he now faces a big decision: return to college for a sophomore season or begin his professional career. The Hurricanes, who made him a second-round pick (37th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, would like to get him in the fold and assign him to the Charlotte Checkers for the AHL playoffs.
"I'm not sure yet what I will do," Faulk said. "I've been talking to an adviser and weighing my options. It sounds like (the Canes) want me to come out for the playoffs with Charlotte, so a decision will have to be soon.
"Going out might be the best thing for me. Or coming back. If I come back, I know I will be playing with a great team. We're trying to figure all that out."
The Bulldogs won their first national championship by topping Michigan 3-2 in overtime in the title game in St. Paul, Minn. Minnesota-Duluth will celebrate the championship in a ceremony tonight on campus, Faulk said.
"Playing college hockey this year was good for me," Faulk said. "I was able to grow and mature as a player, and work on all aspects of my game."
Faulk played in the World Junior in Buffalo, N.Y., with Brian Dumoulin, a defenseman taken by the Canes in the second round of the 2009 draft. Dumoulin won an NCAA title with Boston College as a freshman in 2010 and played for the Eagles this season. He recently announced he planned to return to BC for his junior year.