“He’s like Claude Giroux, his name may not be in the paper every day, but he’s an unsung hero. He’s a really special kid.”
To be compared to the Flyers captain, as West Chester Rustin coach Nick Russo did, is special indeed, but Nick Ferraro more than lived up to it. And while Giroux may not be the NHL’s Most Valuable Player, the season that Ferraro had resulted in him being named the Daily Local News All-Area Boys Ice Hockey Player of the Year.
“This season was the most fun,” said Ferraro. “Winning the state title again and keeping the tradition going. And playing with guys like Matt Owens were great. Can’t wait until next year.”
The junior led the ICSHL Ches-Mont League in goals and points and helped set the tone for a team that was younger than usual and had some bumps in the road this season, the most significant of which was a 5-0 loss to Downingtown West in the Ches-Mont playoffs.
But, the Golden Knights regained their footing in the Flyers Cup. They rolled to their fifth straight crown with a 25-9 goal differential. Ferraro was the team’s leading scorer with six goals and four assists. In the state final against Bishop McCourt, he notched a pair of goals, including the go-ahead tally, in a comfortable 4-1 victory.
Ferraro went through a line change for the postseason, with David Carney being put on his line with Owens.
“We just rolled with it,” said Ferraro, and the results definitely bore that out.
“David was a little more defensive-minded,” said Russo. “But, when you have fleet horses, let them run.”
For obvious reasons, the Flyers Cup final was one of Ferraro’s highlights of the season.
“The Flyers Cup final (against West Chester East) was great,” he said. “The intensity was great. The support was fantastic. No one gave up and it was nerve wracking.”
Ferraro and Owens made for one of the top scoring combinations in the area. They teamed up for 19 points in the Flyers Cup.
“My linemates were very unselfish,” he said. “It’s fun to set them up and its great when we’re all having fun and enjoying playing together.”
“They’ve grown up together,” added Russo. “They’ve been playing together since they were 6. You can’t teach chemistry and they have it.”
Ferraro comes from a hockey playing family, his uncles and a cousin got him into the sport and the love affair, like most people with the sport took hold on outside sheets if ice.
“My uncles and my cousin, Paul, got me skating out on the pond,” Ferraro explained. “I started taking lessons, and fell in love with the sport.”
He also grew up admiring a certain former all-star Detroit Red Wing center.
“I wish I had Pavel Datsuyk’s hands,” he said. “I just liked the way he went about the game. He looked very serious, but at the same time, you could tell he was having fun.”
They talk about how players are good “in the room.” According to Russo, that’s where Ferraro may be the most valuable.
“He’s a warrior. He’s got a fire in the furnace,” Russo said. “He holds everyone accountable, he sets the bar high. I feel sorry for the incoming freshmen if they don’t work because Nick will make them accountable.
“I’m just here to back him, support him and guide him. He’ll put in the effort.”
Ferraro has another year to continue to rack up the numbers as the Golden Knights go for their sixth straight Flyers Cup and state playoffs titles, after that, he hopes to continue playing either in college or in junior hockey.
“All the college scouts will see he’s the real deal,” said Russo. “He’s the total package.”
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