by Jason Lockhart
When you first speak to 19-year old Ryan O'Marra, you'd think he was your typical well-spoken, down-to-earth teenager. Then you realize he is in fact a first-round Islanders draft pick. He was born in Tokyo, Japan, but moved with his family to Canada after only six months. He currently resides in Mississauga, Ontario, but will likely make his home on Long Island in the not-too-distant future.
Ryan had a successful stint playing with Erie of the OHL, compiling 172 points during his three-year run with the Otters from 2003-2006. He joined the Sound Tigers late last season and started off well, scoring four goals in his first three games. He finished with five points in eight regular season games and one assist in three playoff games.
Only 18 when he attended his first Islanders training camp last year, Ryan was in awe of the players around him. But now, with an improved game and additional experience, Ryan has his sights on making the cut at this year's Islanders training camp. We had a chance to talk to Ryan, as he discussed the following topics.
On being an Islander:
"I was really excited to be selected by the Islanders. I knew about the storied history and the Cups and knew it would be great to be a part of. The Islanders are a first-class organization and they have treated me extremely well."
On his training camp experience:
"It was a whirlwind of an experience last year. It was surreal lining up against guys like Alexei Yashin, Miro Satan and Jason Blake. Playing against those guys really helped my game and opened my eyes. My goal this year is to make the team. I had a great experience last year, and didn't know what to expect, but now I want to take that next step. If I don't make the team I won't be upset. It will just be an added incentive for next year."
On playing in Bridgeport:
"I started off with a bang scoring four goals in three games, but then I got pneumonia and started slowing down. I had some more bad luck later in the season with other ailments and had to miss some of the playoffs. But overall, it was a great experience. I got a taste of the big leagues."
On improving his game:
"I'm trying to improve my foot speed and skating. That's been the biggest focus this summer. Overall, my skating needs to be more effective."
On likening his game to others:
"My game could be compared to a number of NHL centers: Rod Brind'AmourÂ¦Keith Primeau, although I'm not quite as big as Primeau. Other than being a power forward, faceoffs are a key component of my game. I would like to be relied upon to take draws late in games and in other key situations. I'm always trying to improve my faceoffs."
On his spare time:
"When I'm not training I like to play a little golf and hang out with friends. I also head up to northern Ontario for a little while just to getaway. I'm trying, as much as possible, to live the life of a normal 19-year old."
The O'Marra File
Favorite superhero: Superman
Anchorman or Wedding Crashers? Wedding Crashers
Favorite non-North American City: Bratislava, Slovakia (It's nicer than it was in Eurotrip)
Favorite sport other than hockey: Football
Star Wars or Lord of the Rings? Lord of the Rings
Favorite former Islander: Bryan Trottier
Ghostbusters or Ninja Turtles? Ninja Turtles
If you weren't a professional hockey player, what would you be? An aspiring stock trader.
Lobster or Steak? Steak
Favorite TV show: Entourage
Born Jun 9 1987 -- Tokyo, Japan
Height: 6-1 Weight: 193 -- Shoots R
Drafted by the Islanders in the first round (15th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
| ||Regular Season ||Playoffs |
|Season ||Team ||Lge ||GP ||G ||A ||Pts ||PIM ||GP ||G ||A ||Pts ||PIM |
|2002-03 ||Georgetown Raiders ||OPJHL ||3 ||0 ||2 ||2 ||0 || || || || || |
|2002-03 ||Streetsville Derbys ||OPJHL ||6 ||0 ||1 ||1 ||2 || || || || || |
|2003-04 ||Erie Otters ||OHL ||63 ||16 ||16 ||32 ||33 ||9 ||5 ||5 ||10 ||6 |
|2004-05 ||Erie Otters ||OHL ||64 ||25 ||38 ||63 ||60 ||6 ||4 ||1 ||5 ||0 |
|2005-06 ||Erie Otters ||OHL ||61 ||27 ||50 ||77 ||134 ||-- ||-- ||-- ||-- ||-- |
|2005-06 ||Bridgeport Sound Tigers ||AHL ||8 ||4 ||1 ||5 ||4 ||3 ||0 ||1 ||1 ||2 |