Evident in how he captured the BCHL’s top defenceman award, Dante Fabbro has been a dominant force in his sophomore season with the Penticton Vees. The enticing blend of his smooth skating ability, composed demeanor and elite offensive abilities has established the New Westminster, B.C., native as a top 30 talent in the 2016 NHL draft class.
“It’s pretty cool and a big honour,” says Fabbro, who is ranked 18th overall among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting Service, on winning the defensive award. “Some big guys have won that award and have went on to do some big things in their careers. I feel blessed and humbled to win it.”
Fabbro, 17, set his sights on enhancing his offensive game in his second BCHL season. With 14 goals and 67 points in 45 games following a 33-point rookie season, he has clearly achieved that goal. He credits his defensive game for paving the way for his strong offensive production.
“I’ve been putting in the time in practice,” he says. “The big thing is I understand the systems and know when to jump up into the play. I also have built my offense from my defence. My defensive game helps me transition into the offense and makes it come natural.”
In Penticton, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Fabbro has had a winning culture instilled in him. The Vees won the BCHL championship last year and held a 50-7-0-1 record this season.
“Growing up, I have played on some really good teams,” he says. “It has carried over to junior and I feel fortunate to be on such good teams. It’s great for me because I have a really competitive nature and I hate losing.”
Fabbro is set to move on to the NCAA ranks next season. Boston University’s coaching staff and strong 2016 recruitment class, which includes other top 2016 prospects like Chad Krys and Kieffer Bellows, led him to commit to their program last October.
“The biggest thing was the coaching,” says Fabbro, whom the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds drafted eighth overall in the 2013 bantam draft. “I felt their coaching staff came off as very genuine and let me know the expectations there. They also have a great recruitment class coming up and I’m very excited to be a part of that.”
1. What type of academic program do you plan to pursue at Boston University?
“I’m not sure yet. I plan to take general studies in my first year before I get a feel for it. I do like business, and that’s something I might pursue.”
2. Do you look up to a defenceman in the NHL?
“Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators. He’s a physical defenceman who can jump up into the rush and has a good shot. I try to implement parts of his game into mine and model some parts of my game after his.”
3. Who is your favourite NHL team?
“Nashville. My sisters go to school just 20 minutes north of Nashville, and also because I like Weber and guys like Roman Josi.”
4. What movie or TV show do you like to watch on hockey road trips?
“I wouldn’t say on road trips, but a show I’m into right now is Suits. It’s a mysterious show where you don’t know what’s going to happen next.”
5. If you weren’t entrenched in hockey, what other sport would you pursue?
“Probably golf or lacrosse. I grew up playing them, but I just played lacrosse one year. I like those sports and enjoy playing them.”
Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen