EDMONTON, AB - Being a young prospect at Orientation Camp can be an intimidating experience. Meeting new people, the coaching staff and the media can be a lot to take in. Just a week ago, John Marino was in Sunrise, FL at the 2015 NHL Draft, where he was taken 154th overall, and now he’s in Edmonton with other Oilers prospects trying to soak it all in.
|John Marino. Photo by Andy Devlin |
Luckily for him, Marino has a friend in the group. When 21-year-old camp invite Luke Esposito found out Marino was at camp as well, he sought him out. The forward has played two seasons at Harvard University, where Marino is committed to play beginning in the fall of 2016.
“I made it a point to try and get to know him a little bit and just see what kind of kid he was. Just let him know how the school was and try to get him excited about it,” said Esposito. “We’ve just been talking throughout the week. I know he still has another year of juniors before he comes in, but we’re just excited to have him and I think he’s going to be a good fit.”
Marino, a 6-foot-2, 176-pound defenceman, played 49 games this season for the South Shore Kings of the USPHL. He has one year left of high school before he begins his Harvard career.
Hockey prowess and educational opportunity drove Marino’s decision to attend the prestigious school.
“They just got ranked the number four team in the country for next season, so obviously they’re one of the best college hockey teams,” said Marino. “Also, you’re going to get an education from one of the best colleges in the world. If anything goes bad (with hockey) you know that you’ve still got that. You’ve got the Harvard degree.”
|Luke Esposito. Photo by Andy Devlin |
Esposito has been a valuable resource for Marino, who is trying to get a feel for what to expect.
“I just told him what we tell a lot of our guys. Getting in sometimes is the hardest part,” said Esposito. “Once you get there we have great resources as far as any help that we need. As a team, we’re very helpful with each other. Whether it’s helping each other find the right classes or teachers that are really good about helping us manage our time well. As far as that goes, we just have a good network within our school to set us up well. I just wanted to make sure he knew that.”
Esposito also told the recruit about the hockey side of things at Harvard.
“With the hockey, they’ve got a great coach there in Ted Donato,” said Marino. “There are new renovations to the rink where they just got new stands and a new locker room, so I’m looking forward to that. (Esposito) loved it. I have no complaints about (my choice).”
Marino has not made a decision on what he will study at the Ivy League institution. Economics piqued his interest, because his father was in business. But those are decisions to be made in the future. Right now, his focus is on camp with the Oilers, playing one more junior season, and then it’s off to Harvard.
At least now he’s made a friend who has told him what to expect when that time comes.
“I love it,” Esposito says of playing for the Crimson. “From everybody that I know there that’s playing on the team, we love it. It’s a great balance of getting your education and coming out with a really good degree, but also we have a really good hockey team.”
A really good hockey team that is expected to get an Oilers prospect into the fold come 2016.