Image credit: Rick Swan. Alex Marrocco, younger brother of recent Bonnyville Pontiac P.J. Marrocco, was acquired last week from the Chilliwack Chiefs.
The Marrocco name is familiar to Bonnyville Pontiacs fans.
P.J. Marrocco just played with the Yaks for a season and a half from 2016-2018 averaging a point-a-game before his eventual trade to the Chilliwack Chiefs.
The parallels will continue on a couple of fronts in 2019-20 as recently acquired Alex Marrocco is set to suit up with the Pontiacs after a trade from that same BCHL franchise.
So, P.J. told him about the team.
“He [P.J.} was pretty much by my side the entire way. And he said, ‘Rick [Swan] is an unbelievable coach, and he’ll be the person that develops you. He’s the best out there anywhere in the junior,'” Alex Marrocco said.
“He said don’t look at it as anything less than a great opportunity for me and my family because Rick is a great person.
“He’s made everything a lot easier for me. But I’m definitely excited. P.J. has been there and he’s definitely happy as well,”
The 19-year-old defenceman scored two goals and sixteen assists with the Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) last season, his first full AJHL experience.
Up till then, Marrocco played Midget AAA with the Knights of Columbus Pats for three seasons out of Edmonton and appeared in one game with the Drayton Valley Thunder in 2017-18.
He joins the Pontiacs defensive corps which boasts 99’ born defenders Jeremy Gervais and Noah Lugli, local A.J. Macaulay, Jackson Hogg, and another recent signee Cameron Howard.
“I would describe myself as more of a puck-moving defenceman who likes to get up in the rush. I definitely take defense seriously and never want to put that in jeopardy. But I am a guy that likes to create offence and I’ll definitely look to do that any way I can,” said Marrocco.
Marrocco spoke highly of the Chiefs organization and shifted his focus into playing in a new league.
“Chilliwack’s a great organization. I think when you speak about Junior a lot of people recognize Chilliwack is one of those organizations a lot of people want to play with. I met a lot of good players and the coaches were really good. They definitely helped me get into the Junior A mindset which was definitely a lot different than the midget one.”
Older brother P.J. is now playing with Arizona State University along with Bonnyville hockey players Brinson and Steen Pasichinuk who helped the Sun Devils become the talk of college hockey and make a historic run to the NCAA tournament.
So the parallels continue.
“I’m definitely excited to definitely be a part of the AJHL bigger than just the one game I did play. I mean, I got to watch my brother the three years that he was in the AJHL with Camrose and Bonnyville and seeing him develop in the league. So I’m kind of hoping to use what I learned from his experience and kind of use it to my advantage.”
Marrocco will be part of the revamped blueline that looks to build off the Pontiacs record-breaking regular season that ended in a disappointing four-game sweep in the second round to the Spruce Grove Saints.
“You talk to anybody – playoffs are the best time of the year for any hockey player. That’s what you want. You play to go all the way, you want to win a league championship. That’s always the end goal.
“I mean, you want to get scholarships but team-wise, you definitely want to want to win the league. And that’s a big step. And I think the Bonnyville Pontiacs had a really good regular season last year and hopefully, we just keep getting better.
“I’m just really excited to be a Bonnyville Pontiac and I just can’t wait to get things going on,” said Marrocco.