DiFrancesco leads Meteors leadership group
Josh DiFrancesco checked all the boxes when Fort Erie Meteors coach and general manager Nik Passero was selecting his captain for this season.
“It was an easy choice in the aspect he has all the qualities,” Passero said. “He works hard, he’s a full-time student at Brock, he never misses, he’s been part of our leadership group and he’s one of the longest-standing members here.”
Passero said DiFrancesco also sets the tone in work ethic.
“He battles everyday. He is the hardest working guy on the team.”
DiFrancesco, a 20-year-old St. Catharines native, is thrilled with the opportunity to lead in his final season of junior eligibility.
“I’m obviously honoured,” he said. “Not everyone gets to wear the C. You have to earn it, be a leader and prove yourself too.
“We have a lot of good leaders on this year’s team so it’s nice to be chosen.”
DiFrancesco, who is majoring in medical sciences and hopes to become a dentist, is well aware actions often speak louder than words.
“You have to find a good medium in there between leading on the ice and being talkative in the change room,” he said. “You have to be positive and supportive and be the connection between the coach and the players. You have to be well respected in the room and have the attention of your peers.”
Joining DiFrancesco in the leadership department will be assistants Thomas Gualtieri, Kevin Gould, Jayden Baldinelli and Marcus Regina.
It is a veteran group all in their final season of junior.
“Having 20-year-olds is a big deal,” DiFrancesco said. “It brings experience and leadership and that helps me out. I can look to my assistants to help and they serve as good leaders in the room and have an impact on the ice as well.”
Passero is confident in the leadership group as a whole.
“You need to have the respect of the guys in the locker room. I think our leadership group did a good job of that last year and that’s always easier for the coach when the lockeroom respects the captain,” he said.
Passero said the coaching staff plans to engage the leaders more this season.
“We’re going to meet weekly but that’s something as a coaching staff we have to get better at — leaning on them,” he said. “That’s something we really targeted this summer when we talked as a staff, to lean on our captains more. This year we have five 20-year-olds that have letters on. They all bring something else to the table and that’s important.”
Passero said that leadership has already been evident this season.
Following a loss in their home opener to Hamilton, the Meteors bounced back with a convincing 7-2 win at Caledonia Monday.
“We played real well and we were not happy with Saturday as a group,” Passero said. “Our emotions and our behaviour got the best of us so we came in Tuesday and I think our leadership group got us ready to go. Right from the first face-off we were the better team.”
The Meteors, 2-1, visit the Thorold Blackhawks in Port Colborne Friday and host the Blackhawks Saturday.
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