Every week leading up to October 13, the Rookie Round-Up will give ECHL fans the chance to get to know a rookie who has signed with an ECHL team for the 2017-18 season. This week, the ECHL spoke with Ricky DeRosa of the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. He’s eagerly awaiting and preparing for his first professional game – get to know him in this Q&A!
Name: Ricky DeRosa
Hometown: Aston, Pa.
ECHL Team: Greenville Swamp Rabbits
2016-17 Team: Penn State University (38 gp, 4g, 9a, 13 pts.)
ECHL: What should Swamp Rabbits fans know about you?
Ricky DeRosa: Swamp Rabbits fans should first know I look forward in being a positive role model in the community while engaging with fans to give back to the city of Greenville for their support. On the ice, the Swamp Rabbits fans should know I am a two way forward that plays with a lot of skill and grit. I pride myself in being reliable in the defensive zone while having the ability to get in on the fore check, score goals and make plays in the offensive zone. Swamp Rabbit fans should know I look forward to working extremely hard on the ice and the byproduct will be more wins for our team this upcoming season.
ECHL: Why did you choose to sign with the Swamp Rabbits?
RD: After conversations with Coach Gratz and my entire coaching staff at Penn State, I got a strong sense of how my abilities on the ice can make an immediate impact playing for Greenville. I believe my playing style correlates extremely well with how Coach Gratz coaches so I chose to sign with the Swamp Rabbits because the opportunity; what I do with that opportunity is up to me and I look forward to getting down to Greenville and am anxious to get the season underway.
ECHL: What are you most looking forward to in your professional rookie season?
RD: I’m most looking forward to another new challenge. I love winning, I love doing things the right way and leaving a mark on a place and town. I feel like I’ve done that in my junior career and have definitely accomplished building a solid foundation for years of success to come at Penn State University. I want to bring that winning culture and hard work style of play to Greenville and have that same success. I look forward to focusing all my efforts to solely hockey while the last four years has been a test of time management balancing playing division 1 college hockey and succeeding in business school.
ECHL: Are there any players you model your game after?
RD: I model my game after Ryan Kesler. I say this because of the style in which he plays. He’s a fierce competitor that is extremely valuable no matter what situation is happening on the ice. He is also always one of the top penalty killers in the NHL every season while people absolutely hate playing against him because of his skill and work ethic combined. I try to correlate my game style equivalently and think the fans of Greenville will agree with these characteristics after they see me play in games.
ECHL: How are you spending your summer?
RD: I’m originally from outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania so I am currently skating/training there for the summer at a local spot and skating with the hockey legend Jim Watson (Broad Street Bully) who has been instrumental in my development growing up. While I’m not skating or training, I’m spending as much quality time with my family and girlfriend who also live close by. If I’m not doing either one of those two things, I spend an adequate amount of time back at Penn State helping run hockey camps for smaller children while training simultaneously. Penn State has become a second home and it’s a little difficult to get away from that facility (Pegula Ice Arena). If I get a little off time I love to head down to the New Jersey beaches for a day or two and pick up a cheesesteak from the city on the way home (Tony Luke’s).
ECHL: What's one thing ECHL fans would be surprised to learn about you (hockey related or not)?
RD: ECHL fans would be surprised to learn that I actually started a Reading Incentive Program at Penn State through the hockey team here. I started this program my junior year of college and our program along with administration received so much positive feedback that I then expanded the program and facilitated 13+ division 1 athletic teams on campus corresponding with 13 different classrooms. The link is http://www.gopsusports.com/sports/m-hockey/spec-rel/020817aaa.html to check it out. The entire community at Penn State is absolutely incredible and the support is unwavering so I thought it would be a great way to give back to the community that has given me so much.
ECHL: What is your proudest hockey moment of your amateur career?
RD: That’s extremely hard to say since I’ve been playing this game for such a long time and there’s been so many positives. If I had to pinpoint a proudest moment it would have to be receiving a scholarship for hockey to Penn State and winning the B1G Championship this past season. This year we had such a great group of guys and to have come into this school the first year of the B1G existence and leave with winning a title it was such a special moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
ECHL: Have you connected with any of your new Swamp Rabbits teammates?
RD: I have not connected with any thus far but am looking forward to connecting and meeting all of them extremely soon. I’ve met my very best friends playing this game and I’m excited to meet the new guys I’ll become good friends with.
ECHL: Any last words that you would like the Swamp Rabbits fans to know about you?
RD: Just that I’m extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to get down to Greenville to get the season going!