Photo courtesy of Dennis Pause. All rights reserved. Visit his Flickr page for some great photos.
The Athletic Tryout contract that exists in the American League is intended to bring in players that might be considered for future play within the organization, and give valuable ice time to those that are guaranteed that same future. It’s a time, typically in postseason play, where young players are given the opportunity to taste the pro ranks. Players that are finished with their junior or college seasons are eligible for these opportunities (with the latter becoming ineligible for return to the collegiate level). It’s a nice setup, but also one that is strangely awkward for teams that have a familiar core for nearly 80 games a season. Yet the clubs take it in stride and every now and again a diamond in the rough is spotted (Hunter Tremblay, who knew?).
The ATO parade has begun for most teams in the American League, but the Barons seem to be jumping into the fray as well. In a tweet discovered by good friend Scott from OilField Hockey, Mike Marcou, a smallish defenseman from the University of Massachusetts has likely signed an ATO with Oklahoma City.
— Scott@OFH (@ScottEOFH) March 27, 2012
Marcou is a Kings Park, New York kid that earned a mini camp tryout with the Islanders this past season. In addition to being a UMass defender, Marcou had a USHL career with the Waterloo Blackhawks where he appears to be a hard working, slowly improving defender, that overcomes a bit of a size issue with tons of heart.
It’s true when people say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Despite talented – and still progressing – individuals that performed in big moments this 2011-12 season, the entire Massachusetts hockey program took a big step forward in the right direction.
Seniors T.J. Syner, Danny Hobbs and Michael Marcou were unquestionably the leadership, talent and examples to follow for the rest of the team.
However, with those three departing along with senior Kevin Moore – a veteran goaltender who stayed on with the program for four years as an example for younger players – it’s time for the talented underclassmen to take the reigns going forward.
Consistent focus and effort, especially on the defensive end, is what has made the difference between winning and losing this season. UMass’ defensive corps is good, but still relatively young with Mike Marcou the only senior among a bunch of sophomores and freshmen.
It seems that Marcou is no stranger to leadership, and that’s certainly something that the Barons will welcome with open arms if not this season, potentially in years to come.
With Kyle Bigos and Brandon Davidson mentioned as potential Barons in the coming weeks, it’s hard to imagine Marcou getting much ice time during the remaining games or even in the postseason. However, sometimes gaining some pro atmosphere is more important than actual playing time when in limited game scenarios. Based on whom we think might make the roster with an ATO in hand, look for Marcou to get one or two starts in a first/second rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs.
Mike Marcou stats:
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM ------------------------------------------------------------------- 2006-07 Waterloo Black Hawks USHL 44 1 4 5 26 2007-08 Waterloo Black Hawks USHL 48 2 9 11 22 2008-09 UMass-Amherst H-Eas 20 0 1 1 4 2009-10 UMass-Amherst H-Eas 36 7 3 10 39 2010-11 UMass-Amherst H-Eas 27 4 7 11 18 2011-12 UMass-Amherst H-East 34 6 15 21 16
Keep in mind, neither UMass nor the Barons have made this official, but if true will likely make it official prior to games arriving this weekend.