March 29, 2012
Landon Ferraro is in his rookie year with the Grand Rapids Griffins, but he is among some very familiar company.
"I played against his dad, I coached his dad, and then I wind up coaching his son," said Griffins head coach Curt Fraser.
Landon's father, Ray Ferraro, had a long and successful career in the NHL. In 1999-00, Ray joined the Atlanta Thrashers for their first season as an expansion team, joining Fraser, who was in his first season as an NHL head coach.
"Ray was a harder worker then anybody, and he competed hard,” said Fraser. “He was in the face of everybody on the ice, and you see a lot of those things in his son."
Landon worked for the Thrashers as a stick boy during his father’s stint with the team, and he got to know Fraser during this time. When arriving for his rookie year with the Griffins, however, there were a few differences between the two programs that Landon noticed immediately.
"I don't get excused out of the meetings I was told to go wait in the hallway for when I was in Atlanta," he said.
"It’s been good. He’s been around the game so long. He’s not a coach that just understands the game – he played it too – so he’s got first-hand knowledge," Ferraro said. "Anytime you can kind of pick somebody’s brain like that, you know that's been through everything, it’s really nice."
Being surrounded by so much success has given Landon the opportunity to learn from some great hockey minds. Some of the best advice he has received has come from his father. "His thing is just always move my feet, and that's part of my game that if I didn't have, I wouldn't be here right now."
This season also marks another first for Landon, in that he’s donning an unfamiliar number on the back of his jersey.
"This is the second year ever that I haven't worn 13. I always wore it for baseball, hockey, soccer, everything."
Landon wore the number as a tribute to one of his childhood heroes, Mats Sundin. "He was a good leader and he was a staple for Maple Leaf hockey."
Through 53 games this season, Landon has posted 18 points (8-10—18) The transition from playing in the WHL to the AHL has taken some time for Trail, British Columbia, native.
"It's a big change from juniors, you’re not playing against 16 to 20-year olds, it’s grown men," he said. "At the beginning of the year, I was worried about just not getting scored on and making sure I just stayed in the lineup."
Recently, Landon has begun to find his stride. "As of the last two months, I feel like I've really sort of figured it out, I've started kinds putting up some points so that’s been a nice little gift on top."
"I'm just trying to focus more on just making plays and just being more confident with the puck," said Ferraro. "If I have a shot, I'm not looking for the pass every time just taking the shot and trusting it."
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