Fan favourite and AJHL top scorer, PJ Marrocco has been traded from the Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs club. “He’s made a power impact not only on the ice or in our organization; but right now he’s leading the Alberta Jr Hockey League in scoring,” Head Coach, of the Jr A Pontiacs, Rick Swan, says it was a tough decision to trade Marrocco to the Chilliwack Chiefs.
In return the Pontiacs will receive ’98 D Luke Albert and future considerations. Marrocco has been with the club for two seasons, prior to taking the Assistant Captain role on for the 2017-18 season. He will be missed, says the coach, “rewind two years, he came to us with eight AJHL goals. He’s a player that needed some organization to be able to believe in him. Really, that’s the foremost important words in life.” In believing in Marrocco, the player grew with the Pontiacs to become the league top scorer, with 22 goals, 19 assist to make for a 41 point season, in 28 games played. “That’s all it took for PJ Marrocco to feel confident that he was appreciated for the type of player he is.”
“Not only did he make a significant impact on our team, but he made an impact on the community,” Swan says the entire town will miss Marrocco infectious personality and genuine smile, “he’s left Bonnyville a better place because of him being here.”
Trading Marrocco had a lot to do with the club’s philosophy of building young for the future, explains Swan, “we want to bring great hockey to the fans in Bonnyville. We know that you have to get creative as a general manager and coach in order to do that. Sometimes you have to give up a big piece now, in order to invest in the long term.”
“It’s about doing things in the best interest of the organization. Anyone in the hockey world can see that we’re on the rise and we’ve got great, young skill,” the idea behind the trade, explain Coach Swan is that Marrocco is aging out of the AJHL this season; whereas the team had an opportunity to develop a player for the long term in the trade. “We have a plan in place, we have an opportunity to get a very good player this year, but we get future considerations.”
As for the future considerations, Coach Swan says he is unable to divulge details to the fans until the summer, “it’s all going to make sense when they see the make up and where the vision is. We have a lot of trust in our organization that we’re going to make the best decisions for our club and the town of Bonnyville.”
As for PJ Marrocco he’ll be part of something special in Chilliwack, assures the coach, “he gets a chance to go down the Chilliwack and host the RBC National Cup Championship; which very few players get the opportunity to place at that stage. You feel good about your player getting that opportunity. I want him to win a national championship, he deserves it and he’s worked so hard.”
Marrocco announced a few weeks prior that he has committed to the Arizona State Sun Devils NCAA hockey club and wil be heading there this fall.