Reese Farrell of Auburn reports to Army on Monday, where he’ll begin basic training and then this fall play NCAA Division I hockey for the Black Knights. Farrell payed one year for St. Dominic Academy before moving on to a pair of prep schools. He spent the past two seasons playing for the Maine Nordiques. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Reese Farrell knew the exact moment when he wanted to play college hockey.

“I would say when my steel (blades) touched the ice (for the first time as a kid),” Farrell said. “That has always been a dream of mine — a big dream. I have always thought, for a lot of players, you got to play (college hockey) before any sort of professional (hockey). I have always been focused on that, and luckily two years ago, (Army) blessed me with that opportunity. I was stoked.”

Farrell, 21, grew up in Auburn and most recently played forward for the Maine Nordiques. He committed to play at Army in December 2020. He reports Monday and will soon begin basic training. In the fall, he will be a part of the Army’s NCAA Division I hockey team, which plays in the Atlantic Hockey conference.

He said the past few weeks have been nerve-racking but has mostly been able to keep his mind at ease.

“As the (days) get closer, I have been trying to keep busy to try to keep my mind out of it, but I am actually really excited,” Farrell said.

Future teammates have given Farrell and the other eight freshmen tips about what to expect in the coming months.


“There’s a great group of guys who reached out to the incoming freshmen, and they helped us answer some questions,” Farrell said. “We bounced some stuff off of them and took a little bit of the pressure off, being, ‘Hey, we went through it too and this is what you got to expect.'”


Farrell’s route to college hockey has included many stops, each one providing valuable experience before he moved on to the next level.

St. Dominic Academy’s Reese Farrell ties up a Lewiston player in the corner during a 2016 game at The Colisee in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

He made an impact right away in 2015-16 with the St. Dominic Academy boys hockey team, scoring 10 goals and 25 assists in 18 games as a freshman and helping the Saints advance to the Class A East final before losing to Lewiston. His 35 points that season led the St. Dom’s and ranked fifth in Class A.

“I used (that season) a little bit as a stepping stone,” Farrell said. “I think there are different paths for everyone, and choosing to stay at (St. Dom’s) my ninth-grade year introduced me to high school hockey. I think it helped me out moving forward.”

“That feels ages ago,” Farrell added. “I was going back through my transcripts, and I sent the NCAA one of my St. Dom’s transcripts — it seemed like years and years ago.”


During the 2015-16 season, he also played on the Maine Moose’s split-season U14 and U16 teams. Ben Gray, who owns the Moose and coached Farrell on those teams, recognized early on that Farrell had the potential to be a special player.

“You can identify kids 14, 15 and up that have the skill set and the driving force behind it … their work ethic and what they do off the ice, as well,” Gray said. “Just because kids have a skill set on the ice, and kids are advanced (for their age group), it can go south because they (want a social life) or they aren’t committed to doing the off-ice piece. Reese is always committed to doing all the above.”


He knew midway through his year at St. Dom’s that the next step was to try prep school hockey, and he transferred to North Yarmouth Academy for the 2016-17 season. He repeated his freshman year — a common practice when a student-athlete transfers to prep school from a high school — and was the second-leading scorer (13 goals and five assists in 26 games) for the Panthers.

After the season, the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League selected him in the 13th round of the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft. He went to the Wildcats training camp, for the experience, in August 2017, but left the camp after two days to preserve his NCAA eligibility.

He stayed with NYA for the 2017-18 season, recording 15 goals and 10 assists in 30 games.


After two years at NYA, Farrell transferred to Northfield Mount Hermon, a boarding school in Gill, Massachusetts. He fostered a close relationship with boys hockey coach Kevin Czepiel during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.

Farrell, however, didn’t make the best first impression with his new coach during a recruiting visit.

“We talked about it the other day: He showed up with ripped jeans on and a T-shirt that was very bizarre-looking,” Czepiel said. “I was second-guessing myself about recruiting this kid when he stepped out of the car.”

Despite the questionable beginning, the pair’s relationship grew in their two years as player and coach. Czepiel’s on-campus apartment was in the same dorm as Farrell’s, so they spent time together away from the ice.

Czepiel said Farrell grew both on and off the ice during those years.

“For Reese, getting away from Mom’s and Dad’s house and being accountable for his own actions, doing homework on his own time — no one was going to force him to go to the gym and get on the ice for extra help; he had to do it all himself,” Czepiel said. “I think going to boarding school was huge for him to develop those habits and be accountable.”


Farrell said one of the reasons he chose to go to Army was its similarities to Northfield Mount Hermon.

Czepiel said that during his first season at Northfield Mount Hermon, 2018-19, Farrell learned to be a complementary player after being a go-to player at NYA. Farrell still put up nice numbers, finishing with seven goals and 18 assists in 28 games.

Farrell said that first season was important to his on-ice development.

“Honestly, there’s a lot of things that I could take in from my junior year,” Farrell said. “We had a lot of older guys that year, and guys that went to some very good (colleges). Obviously, I had a great leader behind the bench in Kevin (Czepiel).”

In his senior year, Farrell was the captain and go-to player, and was the team’s second-leading scorer with 36 points (10 goals and 26 assists) in 28 games.



The Maine Nordiques brought Farrell home to the Twin Cities when they drafted him in the 2020 North American Hockey League Supplemental Draft. The relationship between the player and the team goes back farther than that, to the 2019-20 season, the Nordiques’ first season in the NAHL.

Auburn native Reese Farrell skates along the boards at The Colisee during his first season playing for the Maine Nordiques in 2020-21. Ron Morin

“I kept tabs on them, and when I came back from NMH on breaks, I watched a couple of their games, got familiar with the (Nordiques),” Farrell said. “I was lucky enough to skate with them throughout that year. They had a pretty good team for their first year in the league. It was good to skate with those guys and it took off from there.”

If the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t canceled the final month of the season in 2019-20, Farrell would have played some games with the Nordiques.

Maine Nordiques coach Matt Pinchevsky said Farrell’s journey back to Lewiston-Auburn is something that isn’t often seen in the NAHL.

“Reese is a beacon of excitement and determination, where things end up falling into place,” Pinchevesky said. “It’s not every day someone gets to play at the North American Hockey League, one of the top (junior) leagues in the country, in their backyard. … I feel like guys come far and wide, all over the world, to play in our league, for the Maine Nordiques. (For) Reese (it’s his) hometown, he’s a symbol of not only being a part of the community and looking to serve the community, he comes from this community.”

His first season with the organization, 2020-21, the Nordiques’ talent combined with their drive and focus to notch a 35-19-2 record, win the NAHL East Division and make a postseason run to the Robertson Cup semifinals.


Farrell contributed 10 goals and eight assists in 51 games.

Maine Nordiques forward Reese Farrell, right, tries to center the puck from behind the net against the Maryland Black Bears at The Colisee in Lewiston on March 25. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

He had more of an offensive role this past season, scoring 10 times and tallying 31 assists in 56 games. His 41 points ranked fifth on the team.

“I (definitely learned) how to be relied on a little bit more, especially coming back as an age-out (player) and being an older guy,” Farrell said. “We had a little younger team, and a lot of guys were looking to us age-outs. It got me out of my comfort zone a bit.”

Pinchevsky could tell players looked up to Farrell this season and learned from how he went about his business on game days.

“(For his teammates) to see a deliberate process coming from a person who was an every-night guy, never out of the line-up, always contributing, always making an impact in one way or another, was really healthy for our younger guys, who will be better off for it this (upcoming) year,” Pinchevsky said. “… Reese definitely set a trend there: ‘Guys, reputation and consistency, these are the hallmarks of the program to help you get better. From the little things: I get my coffee at this time, I always get dressed at this time, I always tape my stick the same way.’

“I could see guys studying Reese this year and I am glad they were studying someone who truly loves the game, is a hell of a player and is an incredible young man.”


Farrell said the biggest jump in his hockey development has come during the past two seasons with the Nordiques. Now, he’s ready to take on the challenges of Division I college hockey. Army (14-17-4 overall, 12-11-2 conference) finished third in Atlantic Hockey last season.

“It’s going to be really hard. It’s definitely not going to be an easy task,” Farrell said. “I think we have nine incoming freshmen. Obviously, we all want to (be in the lineup). It’s great, it adds a competitive factor, everybody is competing for spots.

“I think it will be tough, it will be a high level of hockey that I really haven’t seen in my life. I am very excited for it.”


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