EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 30, 2012

Lucky Number

Michael Muldoon
mmuldoon@eagletribune.com

The number 46 doesn't seem like much of a number for a hockey player.

But it's the ultimate number when your last name is Farnham.

Bobby Farnham isn't your "traditional" Farnham, though. Unlike most of that family of gifted athletes, he hails from North Andover, not Andover. Also, his sport of choice is hockey, not football.

The Brown senior assistant captain actually wore No. 10 as a freshman. He switched to the "Farnham 46" and perhaps not coincidentally his game took off.

"It means a lot," said Farnham, who is the third leading scorer for the 8-10-3 Bears with six goals and nine assists. "I'm the fifth Farnham at Brown and the first in hockey. I thought it was a different sport. Then I thought it would be pretty cool to wear it. I see pictures of my dad and two uncles and cousin wearing it. It's a real honor."

His father, Robert (Class of '77), and his uncle Mark ('80) are in the Brown Hall of Fame for their football heroics and Mark also was a lacrosse star. Robert, who earned a tryout with the Cleveland Browns, was one of four receivers selected to Brown's 125th anniversary team.

His cousin, Buddy ('10), will undoubtedly be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. And his uncle, Paul ('83), also was an All-Ivy Leaguer.

In many ways, it's an impossible standard to live up. But in some ways, future generations of talented Farnhams will be inspired to live up to Bobby's all-around brilliance.

He has a GPA in the 3.6-3.7 range with a perfect 4.0 in the fall. In late August, he and five teammates helped save three teenagers who were struggling in riptides. He's also involved in a slew of charitable endeavors.

Bears coach Brendan Whittet didn't sound overly surprised at Farnham's actions potentially saving lives this summer.

"It's just another great example of a selfless act in a stream of selfless acts that I see Bob perform on a daily basis," said the third-year Brown coach.

It's not only the Farnham side of the family Bobby is proud of. His mother, Glorianne Demoulas Farnham, is from the well known supermarket family which began as a small store in Lowell and grew into one of the country's largest family businesses.

"It's the best of both worlds," said Farnham, whose middle name is Telemachus in honor of his late grandfather. "Both the Farnhams and the Demoulases have the work ethic. One thing I've learned is you have to work hard and be honest and things will work out. I'm so proud to be part of both families."

That work ethic has been crucial to his success at Brown, where he has made the All-ECAC Hockey academic team three straight years. After earning Eagle-Tribune MVP honors at Brooks then transferring and starring at Phillips Academy, he found it was a big leap to Division 1 college hockey.

So big that he was fourth line early in his sophomore year.

"It was a process, a huge process," explained the 5-10, 188-pound forward, who gravitated to hockey early, but did play some football in high school, too. "It was a big adjustment. Everyone was bigger, faster and stronger."

Whittet said there were no shortcuts.

"Bob made the leap because he demanded it through his performance on the ice," said Whittet. "As a new head coach at that time, I definitely underestimated his ability. Through his daily actions he made me well aware that he is a player that had unlimited potential."

Eventually, he plans to work in the family business. But the immediate goal is to take a shot at the pros.

"I want to play hockey, that's what I want to do," said Farnham, whose older sister Cat Farnham was an Eagle-Tribune All-Star soccer player. "The NHL is still my goal. It will be a difficult goal, but I feel it's attainable.