Orrin Centazzo has ‘it,’ whatever that ‘it’ is. The player from Marwayne, Alberta has been a hit with young hockey fans since day one and can often be found interacting – like handing over a puck or playing rock, paper, scissors – with kids at the plexiglass divider during warm up. Phrases used to describe the young man with the blond curls hanging outside his helmet are, “he plays bigger than he is,” “What a spitfire,” and “can that kid ever skate.” He has spunk, attitude, and displays a kindness and sweetness that’s impossible to not adore. We ask Centazzo what he thinks of a life lived in the spotlight. “You look out at all the signs that they have around in warm up and if your name’s on it, you try and acknowledge it and try and play rock, paper, scissors or trade a puck for something so they know you noticed,” he said with a smile.
He’s long has a passion for the game himself, so inspiring the next generation feels good, he added. “I start playing hockey or skating when I was two, and my dad wouldn’t tie my laces up tight to keep my strength on my ankles.” Did it help? He smiled, “I guess…”
There’s a passion in Centazzo and he says he’s glad it’s noticed. “I am not taking any of this for granted. It’s the best game in the world and I get to play and I’m thankful for it and I’ll never take it for granted.” Centazzo’s mom and stepdad came to visit for six games. What are their thoughts? “They love it. It’s different from Alberta and the roads are confusing,” he laughed.
As for the fans? They are the best. ”It’s such a great group of people to play for and the fanbase here? I love it.”
He also has praise for his teammates. “We have a very skilled team. Playing with Obie (O’Brien) is crazy and playing with Skirvs (Skirving) is incredible, I mean, (Skirving) works hard. He can pass the puck like I haven’t seen before and it’s pretty easy – when you get a puck on your tape, you score.”
Centazzo won Rookie of the Year this season. Thoughts? “We’re excited for the playoffs. We want to bring another Kelly Cup here so hopefully we can do that and I think we’ve got the team to do it. I’m excited for the playoff atmosphere and to just continue to keep things going.”