Only time for one Hail Mary. Kordell Stewart back to pass. A tip. And a Michael Westbrook reception. Game over. Colorado wins.

With that as his earliest Michigan memory, it’s a wonder Wolverines forward Danny Fardig decided to skate for the Maize and Blue a decade later.

“My dad and I were at the stadium,” Fardig said. “We thought (the game) was in the bag, so we headed out. Then we heard a big roar and we were like, ‘Uh-oh.’ We had to see the replay on TV later.”

Danny’s father, Don, played hockey at Michigan from 1973-76 and golf from 1973-75. His uncle, Dave, played hockey for the Wolverines in 1981. He, too, was on the golf team, from 1979-81. With that history, there was never any question as to whether or not Danny would follow his family’s tradition.

“As soon as I could walk, I could skate,” Fardig said. “I grew up playing a lot of sports, but hockey and golf were the main ones, since my dad and uncle played here. “

Despite skating for the Wolverines, Fardig’s father never pressured him into going to Michigan. But growing up in Ann Arbor has a way of influencing college decisions.

“Indirectly, my dad influenced me, because I grew up around the rink,” Fardig said. “Because I grew up in Ann Arbor, I’ve hated Michigan State since the day I was born.”

Fardig always knew he wanted to end up in Ann Arbor. So when he got his chance to join Michigan’s hockey team as a recruited walk-on, he jumped at the opportunity. Fardig quickly made an impression on the Michigan coaching staff with his dedication in practice.

“He’s the kind of kid that grows on you,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “From day one of practice he has fit right in. He’s a kid that just wants to give you everything he’s got.”

Though giving it your all, night in and night out, may be difficult for some players, to Fardig it’s just a natural part of competing.

“I came to this team trying to work as hard as I can,” Fardig said. “I’m not going to change. I’m not the guy who will be on the power play or score five goals. Working hard is all I know.”

With the early departures of Mike Brown and Jeff Tambellini to the NHL this past summer, Fardig has gotten his shot sooner than expected. Playing center for Michigan’s fourth line, the freshman notched his first career goal as a Wolverine in the season opener at home against Quinnipiac. He has played in six of Michigan’s seven games.

Older Michigan fans might try to look for similarities between Fardig’s style of play and that of his father’s from 30 years ago. But Danny says the name on the back of his jersey is where the comparisons should stop.

“We’re totally different players,” Fardig said. “I work a little harder than he did, and I hit a lot more than he did. I think he threw about three checks in his whole career.”

 

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