Bakersfield in good hands with Marciano
It’s not how you start, but how you finish; a point that was reinforced to defenseman Joe Marciano during his first season of professional hockey.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound defenseman from Rancho Cucamonga helped the Bakersfield Condors overcome a 1-10 start last season en route to a Western Conference finals appearance, falling to Alaska in six games.
“It ended up being a good season,” said Marciano, who played for the Lake Arrowhead Rangers (coached by Mike Barnett, then Wayne Gretzky’s agent), Ontario Senators and California Wave growing up. “I didn’t really know what to expect with it being my first year of pro. Bakersfield brought in a whole new staff, so it was like a brand-new organization.
“We had that disastrous start then turned it around.”
The good vibrations from last season’s run were one of the reasons Marciano re-signed with the Condors despite another regime change. Coach Troy Mann left to take the top job with Hershey of the American Hockey League.
“He was a big reason for our success last season, and the jump is good for him,” Marciano said.
Playing close to home was another reason Marciano returned.
Having a dependable blue liner such as Marciano, who played 67 games – second most of the team – as a rookie, should ease new coach J.F. Houle’s transition.
Marciano, who majored in economics while playing four seasons for Colorado College, has the ability and gumption to play against opposing scoring lines, and he can chip in offense when called upon – valuable traits in league that endures perpetual roster turnover.
“It’s a revolving door in the minors,” he said. “It’s a grind, and it’s a lot different than playing in college.
“You want to have that team vibe, but you’re fighting for yourself to make sure you have a spot. They can trade you or release you at any time – that was an adjustment.
“Over half the team was different from camp to the end of the year. That happens on a lot of teams in the minor leagues. It’s a tough business.”
But one Marciano proved well equipped to deal with.
– Chris Bayee