Sarnia Sting centre Franco Sproviero is suiting up for his fourth season with the Buzz.
Is he nervous? Absolutely.
“I’m a pretty antsy guy,” said the 20-year-old Sarnia native.
“I’m obviously not as nervous as I was as a kid, but still want to do a good job out there and help the team win.”
Sproviero will lead a young squad that includes nine fresh-faced rookies when the Sting launch a new season on Friday against the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds.
This year’s Sting squad is ready to take on any team in the league, he said.
“I think we’re going to surprise some people,” said the diminutive forward known for his energetic spirit.
“I just think a lot of rookies from last year are going to step up. We worked really hard in the summer.”
Sarnia’s home opener at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena is on Friday, Sept. 28 against the visiting Flint Firebirds, at 7:05 p.m.
Sproviero is an over-ager this season, meaning it’s his last in the OHL. He brings a veteran approach to the game, and so expects the rookie-heavy team will look to him for advice. Advice he sought not long ago himself.
“It seems like I was a 16-year-old a couple months ago but I’m the old guy on the team now,” he said with a laugh.
Last year’s campaign came to an abrupt end with a 6-2 loss in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal against the Kitchener Rangers, which was a disappointment for Sproviero.
The homegrown talent came up through the Sarnia Sting junior system. He had 10 goals and 27 assists for 37 points last year, and added four goals and seven points in 12 playoff games.
The Sting strategy remains the same this campaign, he said.
“If a team is more talented than us we just have to work harder than them,” he said.
“That’s the simplicity of hockey. You can outwork teams if you’re not as talented as them.”