Alex Faust, who filled in for Jack Edwards on NESN’s broadcast of the Bruins’ preseason opener against the Rangers last Sunday, probably sounded familiar, even if perhaps it took a moment to recall from where.
The 34-year-old Northeastern graduate has called all sorts of sports in New England before and since establishing himself as a top-notch NHL play-by-play voice. Among his assignments: He called college basketball and served as the lead Hockey East announcer on NESN, and in 2019 he filled in occasionally for Dave O’Brien on Red Sox broadcasts.
But Faust is best known on the opposite coast, where he spent six seasons as the television play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Kings before his position, absurdly, was eliminated in June when the Kings’ radio and TV broadcasts were condensed into one production.
In 2018, his Q-rating skyrocketed when “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, who was a passionate hockey fan, told TMZ he thought Faust had what it took to be his potential successor on the game show and even passed the broadcaster’s name along to producers.
“That was incredibly humbling,” said Faust of the endorsement from the beloved Trebek, who died of cancer in November 2020. “At the end of the day you just never know who’s watching. It could be family of players. It could be diehard fans who you’re trying to win over in a new role. It could be somebody who just happens to be a celebrity hockey fan, widely respected for what he does. At the end of the day, nothing came of it, and that’s perfectly OK. I love what I do.”
For someone who landed a coveted job at such a young age — he was 27 when the Kings hired him — it’s a mild surprise that Faust didn’t go directly into broadcasting after graduating from Northeastern in 2012.
“It’s funny, when I graduated I didn’t want to work in sports full time,” he said. “I felt I wasn’t good enough. And at the same time, I had a really good job lined up [at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Seaport]. So I was working for the accounting firm for four years and dabbling in broadcasting on nights and weekends, just staying active.”
An early break came when he got the chance to call games for the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets when their regular play-by-play voice, Brendan Burke, had a college football assignment.
“Then gigs started to grow in number, and I got to the point where like, hey, maybe I can try this out as a real career,” he said. “So I took that leap and tried this dream career. I was incredibly fortunate that I didn’t leap off a cliff.”
Faust applied for the Kings job in 2017 not out of any real expectation that he would land it, but to at least get a sense for the interview process.
“I was just kicking the tires really on the opportunity,” he said. “I saw that there was an opening and I knew a couple of people. I said, ‘Why not, why don’t I try?’ I would love to get an interview. That was my goal. I just wanted to get an interview with the team just to see what that process was like. And it absolutely accelerated beyond my wildest dreams.”
Faust acknowledges he was blindsided by the way it ended with the Kings, but buoyed by the response in the aftermath.
“It was the first time I had ever been let go from a job in my life. So it was a shocking experience to go through that,” he said. “But in what could have been a really tough couple of days, I ended up feeling really good about the future. Social media is one thing, but so many people reached out directly, texted, called. I was blown away, and it really meant a lot.”
What Faust is doing now is a nifty bit of navigating between staying busy and enjoying his circumstances. He was a play-by-play voice for Apple TV’s MLB broadcasts (no, don’t blame him if you couldn’t find the occasional Red Sox game on Friday nights), and also is calling baseball and college football for Fox Sports. This Sunday, he’ll call his first NFL game for the network alongside analyst Brady Quinn when the Vikings face the Panthers.
Faust will likely do some fill-in work on NHL broadcasts this season, perhaps even a game here or there with the Bruins. (NESN is announcing its full Bruins plans soon. Major changes aren’t expected.) For now, an excellent announcer is busy enough with other sports that he can handle the hiatus from a full-time hockey role.
“I’ve been really busy this summer and into the fall,” Faust said. “There’s been no drop-off in terms of the amount of work and the travel and only now as they reach the fall and hockey season begins, am I looking at it like, ‘Wow, hockey season is here and I’m not working full time in it.’ So it’s a little weird. But I’m OK with taking a breath for a bit.”