Marco Rossi (5-foot-9, 183 pounds) of Ottawa in the Ontario Hockey League will file a monthly diary this season for NHL.com leading up to the 2020 NHL Draft in Montreal. The 18-year-old center, an A-rated skater in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list, has nine points (four goals, five assists) in four games this season. In his first entry, Rossi discusses hockey in Austria and expectations for his second OHL season.
Hello hockey fans.
I guess a good place to start is how it all began for me. I was 3 years old when I started getting into ice hockey. My dad, Michael, was a professional hockey player in Austria for 20 years so the decision to play hockey was an easy one.
I was born in Feldkirch, Austria, which is about 80 miles east of Zurich, Switzerland. My dad played most of his career for VEU Feldkirch in Austria and won a couple of league championships. We don't have a lot of rinks in Austria, probably about 40. There are maybe five in my hometown.
My dad always told me to be a good teammate. Some parents tell their kids that if they score a goal they would take them to a restaurant afterwards. My dad was always different. He said give a pass, be a good teammate, play with passion and play hard.
I played in Austria until I was 10 and then I moved to Switzerland. Switzerland is just 15 minutes away because I lived on the border, so it wasn't too bad. I played there for three years, and then when I was 13 we moved to Zurich. That was pretty tough in Zurich because we had to drive, every day. We had to wake up in the morning at 6 o'clock, and then after school we had to go to the practice and it was almost an hour and 30 minutes away. We'd get home around midnight, so it was pretty tough, but my dad never complained.
My mom and dad sacrificed a lot for me; I certainly owe them. I have two older sisters, Estelle and Marielle, and they play tennis. My dad and I are the only hockey players of the family.
As far as my game goes, I consider myself a two-way playmaker. I like to play with a lot of passion and I want to win.
I always watched NHL highlights because I couldn't watch games live because of the time difference. I never had a favorite team, but my favorite player was Pavel Datsyuk. I like the way he plays in the offensive zone and even his play in the defensive zone is amazing.
The season has started out well. I'm just playing and having fun. I don't want to put any pressure on myself and I just want to get better every day. When I was a rookie last season, I think my first two games were an adjustment because the ice was smaller and transition was a little faster. But I got used to it after a few games and now it's not an issue.
I really like our team in Ottawa this season. It's a different team than last year. Last year we had a lot of depth in our lines, but this year we have more younger players so I think we have a really good group again. I think we can win this year. We lost in the OHL final in six games against Guelph last season, so our goal is to get back there and win it this time around.
When I was playing professional hockey in Switzerland for the GCK Lions in Zurich, I learned the importance of face-offs as a 15-year-old. I had good instructors, former professional players Ryan Hayes and Pascal Pelletier, and really want to improve that part of my game.
I am playing center for Ottawa on a line with Austen Keating and Graeme Clarke to begin the season. We talk a lot to each other after every shift, so it's been good so far.
Thanks for reading my diary this month.
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