KAMLOOPS — One of the newest Blazers Jeff Faith is still getting used to his new teammates, on the ice only for the second time on Thursday since arriving in Kamloops.
Faith is also still coming to grips with the change, saying it was hard being traded from Spokane, where he's spent his first three-and-a-half years.
"It came as a shocker to me, but I knew it was a possibility being a 20-year-old in this league. You're not really guaranteed anything," noted Faith. "I phoned my brother. He was traded as a 20-year-old in this league, so that was nice to talk to him a little bit."
Jeff's brother Tanner Faith was traded to Moose Jaw after spending most of his WHL career with Kootenay. In their conversation, Jeff said Tanner tried to put a positive spin on the move.
"He just said it's a good opportunity to make some new friends and broaden my horizons a little bit," he noted. "When you get uprooted like that, it's an eye-opener, so just take it in stride and try and learn from it."
Faith, who grew up playing defense and was originally drafted as a defenseman by Spokane in the first round in 2013, made the switch to forward last year with injuries in the Chiefs line-up. Blazers head coach Serge Lajoie said while Faith will remain a forward for now, he won't be afraid to put him on the blue line.
"Nice luxury to have. I wouldn't hesitate," said Lajoie. "By all accounts, Jackson [Caller] and Jeff are team-first players and they do what's best for the team, so if it's a requirement of ours at a certain time during the year to have Jeff play on defense, we definitely won't hesitate to put him back there."
General Manager Matt Bardsley, as the former assistant GM in Portland, has watched Faith during his career with the Chiefs and had been keeping an eye on him.
"Certainly a different type of player [than Luc Smith]. Big body, has a real good presence on the ice. He plays the game, is very difficult for opposing teams to play against," noted Bardsley.
Faith said he learned a lot from his Chiefs coach Dan Lambert, who instilled work ethic and getting better, a trait he'll bring to the Blazers.
"One of his big things was to come to the rink and get better every day, and that's really big for me," he said. "Just coming in and trying my hardest, do as much as I can for the guys here."
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