The Ottawa 67’s rookies hit the ice over the weekend, simultaneously signalling the end of the 2021-22 season, and the opening of the 2022-23 season. Among the players on the ice, the Barber Poles’ second pick in the first round of the 2022 OHL Priority Selection (21st overall), Frankie Marrelli.
Marrelli spent the 2021-22 season playing the Markham Waxers of the ETAHL, where he scored 12 goals and 23 assists in 26 games. At the end of the season, the Marrelli and the Waxers qualified for the OHL Cup, an experience the past two draft classes haven’t had the chance to experience. That experience is something Marrelli thinks will benefit him in his first OHL training camp and season.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “It really showed me the hard work it takes. We didn’t make it to the finals, but it was a good tournament and we worked hard.”
After the OHL Cup, it didn’t take long for the praise to start coming in Marrelli’s direction. Most notably, he was listed as one of the top players to watch at the 2022 OHL Priority Selection by Steven Ellis in The Hockey News, but he says it was important to not pay it too much mind during the season.
“You see some stuff, so just don’t let it get to you and focus on your game,” he said. “Improve each day. In the defensive zone, I’m honoured to get the puck out of my zone and play in my end first, then join the rush and play offence.”
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“You just have to believe in yourself. Have confidence, it doesn’t really matter what other people say. It’s about what you think, and going out there and showing other people why you’re a top prospect.”
Clearly, the praise was something 67’s scouts agreed with, as they used the 21st-overall selection to take him. Marrelli has only spent a short amount of time in Ottawa, but he’s happy that this is the organization he’s going to spend his junior career with.
“It was an honour,” Marrelli said, recalling hearing his name called by James Boyd. “Ottawa is a great organization with a great staff, great people, and also the development. Just becoming a better hockey player each day. My family and I were both excited and overwhelmed with joy.”
Part of what makes Marrelli so excited to join the Barber Poles is their staff. Already, he is fond of head coach Dave Cameron, general manager James Boyd, and assisting general manager and director of scouting Jan Egert.
“They are great people,” Marrelli said. “Overall, the atmosphere and the people here are just great, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Rookie camp was Marrelli’s first taste of the OHL lifestyle, but he says he can use it as a learning experience when he comes back for main camp in August.
“A lot of competing and hard work needed,” Marrelli said. “The off-ice testing was really competitive and high pace. On the ice, the game was quick, so just making smart decisions.”
Rookie camp also showed him what he needs to do before coming back to Ottawa later this year. He plans on getting to work at home during the offseason.
“I got to see what it takes to work hard and what you need to bring to the table here,” Marrelli said. “Go back home and get better each day. Working out in the summer, and getting better in each aspect of my game.”
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