Six months from now, it’s entirely likely Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro will both walk across the stage at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y., as
first-round picks at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
And while their skill sets will be what sets them apart from their peers – Jost is a high-scoring forward with a nose for the net, while Fabbro is an
offensive defenceman who plays with poise on the blue-line – there has certainly been no shortage of opportunities for scouts to see them on some of the
Not including this week’s World Junior A Challenge, the duo have played a remarkable number of games over the past season-and-a-half, including regular
season, playoffs, and international duty with Team Canada:
- Canada’s national under-17 development camp – three games
- 2014-15 regular season – 46 games (Jost) / 44 games (Fabbro)
- 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge – five games
- 2014 World Junior A Challenge – four games
- 2015 playoffs – 26 games
- 2015 RBC Cup – five games
- Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team selection camp – two games
- 2015 U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup – four games
- 2015-16 regular season – 30 games (Jost) / 24 games (Fabbro)
Add it up, and it comes out to 125 games for Jost (who also had an extended playoff run to the TELUS Cup with the Okanagan Rockets at the end of the
2013-14 season), and 117 for Fabbro.
That’s a lot of hockey – in some pressure-packed situations – in a span of just 16 months.
So how do the Penticton Vees teammates ensure their games stay at the highest level, despite the gruelling schedule? Jost goes with passion and adrenaline,
while Fabbro takes a more technical approach.
“It’s exciting whenever you come to Hockey Canada events, so I don’t think it’s a matter of me wanting to be fresh,” Jost says. “I think the adrenaline
takes over for that, and you’re always excited to put on that Canada jersey, or play in a Hockey Canada event like the TELUS Cup or RBC Cup.”
“I think the biggest thing is keeping days off,” Fabbro adds. “Obviously maintaining the body is key, and having proper eating habits. It’s definitely
something Tyson and I keep a close eye on; it’s pretty subtle, but it can be detrimental to your game.”
And if there was any year the Vees’ dynamic duo needs to avoid detriments, it’s this one.
NHL Central Scouting gave both players ‘A’ ratings on their November Players to Watch list, meaning they’re candidates to be a first-round pick, while
International Scouting Services has Jost at No. 13, two spots ahead of Fabbro, in its December rankings.
Night in and night out they’re under the microscope, but that doesn’t seem to affect the 17-year-old standouts; not only are they ready for the challenge
of impressing scouts, but they embrace it.
“I think it’s something I can use as motivation,” Jost says. “You always know there’s going to be someone in the stands watching and scouting you, but it’s
just another thing where you want to play well for your team.”
And play well they have. Jost has posted 61 points (24 goals and a league-leading 37 assists) in 30 games, good for second in Penticton scoring and third
in the B.C. Hockey League, while Fabbro’s 38 points (seven goals, 31 assists) puts him second among all BCHL defencemen.
The Vees aren’t too shabby as a team, either. After a season-opening loss, Penticton rattled off 23 consecutive victories, and have been the No. 1-ranked
Junior A team in Canada for much of the season.
It’s that team success that means the most to Jost and Fabbro, who, despite their youth, serve as captain and alternate with the Vees this season, and take
a lot of pride in their leadership roles.
“I’m a leader in Penticton, I wear the ‘C’ there, so I have to come and step up every night and be a leader on that team,” says Jost, who is also the
captain of Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge. “It’s something that I use as motivation; I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the
hardest-working player, and be a leader on and off the ice every time I come to the rink, so it definitely motivates me.”
Before Jost and Fabbro get to the draft next June, they have a few pieces of unfinished business to attend to, and they won’t need to look any further than
last year to get whatever motivation they might need.
First comes redeeming themselves after a sixth-place finish at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge – the worst result ever for Canada West – following by
what they hope is a second consecutive trip to the RBC Cup, Canada’s National Junior A Championship, where the Vees lost out in overtime in the semifinals
Then comes the big day in Buffalo … but they’ll worry about that later.
“Some people might get caught up in reading all those rankings, but I know Tyson and I are level-headed and we want to stay away from that stuff,” Fabbro
says. “When the summer comes, we’ll deal with it then.”