American Hockey League

Canucks impressed with Ferraro’s attitude, skill

A professional tryout contract from the Vancouver Canucks could earn centre Landon Ferraro a leadership role with the Utica Comets

Landon Ferraro works out during a training session at the Vancouver Canucks training camp on Friday at the Save-On-Foods Arena in Victoria.

Gerry Kahrmann / Postmedia News

VICTORIA — Landon Ferraro could complain.

The well-travelled centre endured two knee injuries while attempting to gain NHL career traction. He was limited to a dozen AHL games last season because the 28-year-old Trail native, a 2009 second-round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings, needed hip and groin procedures to correct a hernia ailment.

However, because Ferraro sports speed, smarts and a strong two-way game, the Vancouver Canucks extended a professional tryout contract with the hope he might bring leadership to the Utica Comets. He has only played 77 games in the NHL, but won an AHL championship in 2013 with the Grand Rapids Griffins and keeps battling to extend his career.

“He’s a good pro first of all,” said Canucks coach Travis Green. “You want to have good players in your organization and we’ve got good veterans in Utica and wanted a body in our camp. We’ll take it a day at a time. We have to see how he looks on the ice and make decisions later.”

And that’s all Ferraro wants.

“The biggest thing for me is that it’s been a couple of years since I’ve really played and just 86 games in three years,” Ferraro said Friday following a camp session. “I want to show that my body can really show up and not just hold up but contribute.

“I was lucky enough to have good older guys and veterans in Grand Rapids (Mich.) when I was starting out and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be going into year nine without them.

“To bring some scoring and some stability to a team like Utica and help the young guys grow and how to push is something I pride myself on to show that you can do it. The ultimate goal is to be here (NHL), but when we won the Calder Cup in Grand Rapids, that was a our 100th game of the year.

“A run like that is fun but you see how much of a grind it is. You learn how far you can push your body and that’s what being a pro is all about.”

In 2009, ex-NHLer Ray Ferraro has a quick word for his 17 year old son, Landon, during a conditioning skate at the Burnaby Winter Club.

Stuart Davis /

Vancouver Sun

Ferraro doesn’t have to look far for inspiration. His father, Ray, compiled 898 career NHL points (408-490) with six clubs and has also been a sounding board for his son.

“I’m not going to minimize how much he helps me, but at the same time, he could go at things different than me because he was an established NHL player,” said Ferraro. “He wasn’t blocking many shots — I have to jump in front of them.

“I talk to him every day and after every game and he’s always there to lend an ear. We’re father and son and I like to think we’re pretty good buddies.”

Ferraro’s circle of close hockey relationships extends to fellow Trail native Craig Cunningham and Ferraro was recognized with an award last season in helping the All Heart Foundation.

The non-profit organization was created by Cunningham after his life-threatening cardiac emergency in 2016. On Nov. 19, 2016, he was hospitalized after collapsing on the ice during a pre-game skate before a Tucson Roadrunners game against the Manitoba Moose in Tucson, Ariz.

Cunningham suffered an acute cardiac arrest and after developing an infection because of circulation problems, his lower left leg was amputated on Dec. 24, 2016.

Ferraro pledged $100 to the foundation for every point he recorded last season with the Iowa Wild matching his contributions. Ferraro used his time to actively engage the greater Des Moines, Iowa community to raise awareness about heart disease, sudden heart attacks and the All Heart Foundation, ultimately raising more than $5,000.

For his efforts, the AHL announced the Ferraro was recipient of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award as IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. Dupre died in 1997 at age 24 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. A second-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1991, Dupre played four seasons in the AHL with the Hershey Bears and was an AHL All-Star in 1995.

“With all the injuries I was going through, it gave me a purpose,” Ferraro said of the foundation. “I went to hospitals and community events and being able to talk to Craig through all that. He’s been there for me and to give anything back to him is something I really pride myself on.

“And it’s his birthday today (Friday), so I get emotional about it.”

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