Hingham’s Lily Farden got a taste of what it’s like to play hockey on the highest level.
Now, she wants more.
The Noble and Grenough School junior was selected to the U.S. Women’s U-18 Select Team that battled Canada in a best-of-three series from Aug. 17-20 in Lake Placid, New York. The games were held at Herb Brooks Arena, where the ‘Miracle on Ice’ game took place in 1980 when the US defeated the Soviet Union.
“It was awesome,” said Farden, who is verbally committed to play hockey at Harvard University. “I’ve never done anything that cool. … It’s definitely the highest level of hockey I’ve played.
“Just to know you’re in the same place that the ‘Miracle on Ice’ happened was one of the coolest things about playing there.”
The 5-foot, 11-inch defenseman helped the US win two of the three games.
“Everyone is really the best player from where they come from on their club team or high school team,” said Farden. “It was pretty fun to get to play with all of the best players. They were really high-paced practices and games.
“When I put on the jersey, it was like all my hard was paying off.”
Farden was one of three Massachusetts natives on the team. She was joined by Nobles teammate Casey O’Brien of Milton and Burlington’s Kelly Browne. All three were among 31 players invited by USA Hockey to the USA Hockey Festival and were among 22 players chosen for the U18 Select Team.
“It was cool to be with other people who have the same goals in mind as I do,” said Farden. “I learned that I have to keep working hard because everyone else is doing the same thing as me.”
USA defeated Canada 4-1 on Aug. 17 and 3-1 on Aug. 20 while Canada took the middle game, 3-0, on Aug. 18. In the three games, Farden did not score but also came out with an even plus/minus. O’Brien scored a game and an assist in the 4-1 USA win.
“I was a little nervous at first during the series but after I got the first shift out of the way and realized that I was there for a reason I calmed down a little bit,” said Farden. “I thought I did okay. I competed hard and I hope that everything works out.
“It’s really helpful for my confidence (to be selected for the team). I was confident going but when I got the news that I made the select to play in the series that definitely boosted my confidence a lot.”
Along with playing with some of the best players in the country, Farden and her teammates learned about training methods typically reserved for the highest levels of athletics.
Along with learning about nutrition, the players selected talked to the national team’s mental skills coach and heard firsthand from some of the national team players what playing at the highest levels is like.
“There’s so much stuff that you don’t even really consider until you get to that level,” said Farden. “They have so much more importance on it than you would really even think.
“I was really impressed and interested that they put so much importance on the mental side of the game, which a lot of people never really even think about that much.”
As a sophomore, Farden helped her Nobles team capture their 18th consecutive Independent School League title while earning First Team ISL All-Star honors. Nobles lost to Kent in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference Super Eight semifinals in triple overtime. Farden was the lone sophomore chosen to the NEPSAC’s First Team All New England.
Farden also plays field hockey in the fall. Last year, she was an ISL First Team All-Star while helping the Bulldogs claim the league title.
With her club hockey team, the East Coast Wizards, Farden and her team won the bronze medal at the USA Hockey Nationals in Detroit. Farden was the highest scoring defensemen in the Nationals.
“The past two weeks, being with all of those girls who are so talented really helped me realize that there’s always something that you can be doing to get better whether it’s in the training room, on the ice or with what you eat or how much water you drink,” said Farden. “I’m just hoping to keep looking for the next step and keep seeking out what it is I need to do to get better.”