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, No. 5 in NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters, leads the OHL with 74 points (26 goals, 48 assists) in 32 games this season. In his fourth entry, Rossi talks about his experience at the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Hello hockey fans.
I'm filing this month's diary after the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ontario. Our team lost, but I had so much fun. I was excited to be here, playing on the big stage against the other best hockey players from the Canadian Hockey League. It's nice because this is a once-in-your-life game, so it's really nice to see all the guys all over Canada and from the different leagues. It has been great to get to know them too.
I never received as much media attention as I did this week at this game. I enjoy it and it's nice, but it's a responsibility. I'm usually asked the same questions. They ask me the kind of player I am and how life was as a hockey player growing up in Austria ... no one knows anything about hockey in Austria, so I understand that.
It was great to see defenseman Thimo Nickl (No. 51 among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings) from Drummondville here at the game -- we actually had a few shifts together playing on the same team (Team Red). He's from Austria and we played on the National Team together up until we were 16. Thimo lives about six hours from me [in Klagenfurt, Austria], but in the summer we would attend camps together. We have the same player agent, so we always get together whenever we can.
I played center on a line with my Ottawa teammate Jack Quinn (No. 9) and right wing Jacob Perreault (No. 17) of Sarnia during the game, and we really worked well together. We had a real nice passing play late in the first period that led to a goal by Jack. I got an assist on the play, so that was cool. It was an exciting line to play on. We were really pumped up before the game and knew that if we got a chance, we wanted to score a goal and I was happy for [Quinn].
Perreault was a really good player. He's a smart guy and I had an idea how he played from our games against Sarnia, so we talked a little bit before the game.
Overall, it was a great experience this week at the prospects game. It was unique because I got to see all the players who are the best in their leagues as well. It was nice to meet and talk to them. This is something you don't experience every day or every night, so I was happy to be invited.
Now I'll return to Ottawa for a big push in the second half of the season. We need to keep going. We play against Flint on Friday and then have games on Saturday (Hamilton) and Sunday (Oshawa). We just need to focus on the team, get better every day. It isn't important to me that I remain first in the OHL scoring race. What's more important is that I work to get better every day.
If I'm on the scoresheet, that's nice, but it's not my main goal. My main goal is doing whatever I can to help the 67's return to the OHL final.
Thanks for reading this month. I'll talk to you again in February.
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