Mario Morroni - #9 Center
Quebec's Forerunner of Success What does it take to be a great player in ball hockey. It take great passion. You have to be a great athlete. And, you have to possess a thinking man's understanding of the game that comes with time. You have to have the skill and drive. And for the special ones you have to leadership capabilities. You pull all that together, and you have players that can overcome adversity and become a champion. You could even become a potential CBHA Hall of Fame player like this one did.
Our 2005 Inductee embodied all these elements to have garnered his place amongst the very best who have ever played the game of ballhockey. Mario Marroni of Quebec, overcame the knowledge that his teams, his fellow players and province had the ability to play with anyone in Canada. He stayed true to passion, and helped lead Quebec to its place as the best ball hockey province player for player in our country today. He was a forerunner to the players of Quebec who today dominate our association. And his association and the CBHA owe him many thanks.
Morroni, was a thinking mans player with great skill. He made his linemates better with his great vision and ability to make accurate and timely passes. Making him very dangerous on offense. In addition he possessed the competitive acumen to dissect and study the most skilled adversaries he had to compete with, to make a difference for his team on defence with smart postioning game in game out. A total player. He finished his career leading our National Team to victory in Bratislava, Slovakia in 1996. He is considered one of the best two way players ever to play in our association. We caught up with him and hope that his passionate words about being a top player and how he became one are read by our associations young players. In it, you will find many secrets to success at our game.
Mario shares thoughts on his career and Ball Hockey...
I was fortunate to be part of great teams and learn and grow as a player with some of the best in the game. I believe I always gave my utmost to the game I played and loved for more than 20 years. Being a natural centerman, I always made a conscious effort to play both ends of the rink - offense as well as defence.
I liked to lead by example both on and off the rink, and early on in my career, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to develop my leadership skills. This enabled me to play an active role in winning many championships at all levels of our sport, with the culmination in 1995 with our first win at the Nationals in Quebec history and then in 1996 as I shared the co-captaincy with George Gortsos, to bring home the gold at the first World Championships for Canada.
Like all true Canadian boys, I grew up playing street hockey for days on end and ball hockey was the natural extention to my childhood passion. I remember my first taste of ball hockey was played back in the school yards and then indoors in the gymnasiums. My first year of organized play, I was on 5 teams and would play all day on Sundays.Damn I wish I could go back to those days. This game allowed me to push myself constantly to be the best I could be and do so with a bunch of guys I grew to love like members of my own family.
My ball hockey career at the Provincial level began with a team called the New Bordeaux Devils where I had the opportunity to play with a great bunch of guys and probably some of the best players to have played the game. After establishing ourselves as the best in the province many times over, we decided to take our game to the next level, at the Nationals in Middleton Nova Scotia.What a rude awakening! Although we led if I recall correctly, most if not all our round robin games over the first two periods, playing with a two line roster, we ran out of steam and didn't even qualify for the medals round. It was a very frustrating time for me, but albeit a learning experience which I knew would one day payoff. Ball hockey in Quebec at that time was unorganized and very local with no provincial governing body to add structure to the sport. That is where a guy by the name of Tony Iannitto came into the picture and with a drive and determination unparalleled, put Quebec ball hockey on the National map. With teams like the New Bordeaux Devils, Bar Nulpart, the Black Nights, the Steelers and in the past couple of years the Montreal Red lite, I am proud to see that Quebec ball hockey has gained it's place of respect at the National level, and even more so to have been a part of this early on.
As you know, I had the opportunity to be captain of the first Quebec team to win the Nationals back in 1995, where it had been for me a long 10 yr journey from back in Middleton, Nova Scotia, my first taste of National play. The experience was indescribable, going from underdogs and fan favorites, to winning it all in a nail-biter 2nd period overtime win against Burnaby.what a feeling to finally take it all home. And if that was not bliss enough, we combined with the Fernview Rangers the following year to represent Canada at the first World Championships in Slovakia, and brought home the gold.
Ball hockey over the years has allowed me to enjoy a sport I loved and share many experiences as well as build friendships with a great group of guys. You learn the meaning of hard work and cooperation, goal setting, winning and losing.for it is in adversity that teammates must gel together and combine their talent, commitment and hard work to execute the tasks required to be successful and enjoy the rewards! Thanks to ball hockey I'm sure I'm a better man for it. To the many great guys I met along the way, to the Hrivnaks, the Mustos, the Wicks, the Iannittos, the Rock's and of course the Mikey's of this world (God Bless), I say thanks. To anyone out there who has the opportunity to travel the ball hockey landscape as I have for more than 20 years, I wish upon you the same great opportunities I was fortunate to enjoy and now cherish today. Go for the gold.it is well worth it!
. New Bordeaux Devils
. Black Knights