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Klepper’s Korner w/ Connor Marritt

Connor Marritt From Boy to Man – By Don Klepp

At 6′ 1″ and 205 pounds, Connor Marritt has a man’s body and strength, but his maturity goes beyond his physical presence. He’s thoughtful, he’s focused, and he’s responsible.

But he wasn’t always big and strong. When he entered the midget ranks at age 15, he was just 5’5″ and 105 pounds. It was evident that he could play hockey well, but his size was cited as a reason for not selecting him for top level midget hockey in Vernon. So, partly for this reason, his family moved to Kelowna and Connor joined several other Kelowna players who commuted daily to Penticton to attend the Okanagan Hockey Academy and Penticton Secondary School (Pen High).

Connor flourished at the OHA and at the end of his grade 11 year he began to grow. As he grew, his scoring production increased. He finished with 31 points in 30 games in his senior year at the OHA. At the same time, he excelled in school, earning straight A’s during the three years spent at Pen High. He also participated in other activities, including playing saxophone in the school jazz band.

His mother Tracey Marritt says that “Connor’s teachers have often commented about his natural leadership ability and his quiet confidence. He seems to have an ease about him and that draws others to him.”

That leadership aura and Connor’s strong work habits led to Coach McKee choosing Connor as this year’s captain. “He’s a great teammate, a hard worker, and really good in the community.”

Connor says that he was surprised at being named captain but that he “feels ready for the challenge. I have a strong leadership group around me on this Viper team.” He cites Jagger Williamson as his role model: “Jagger was a selfless leader, always doing things for his teammates, always putting the team first.” Connor clearly understands the role – he has made a point of welcoming new players, even picking up recruits at the airport and welcoming fellow 20-year-old Connor Sleeth into his family’s home when the Ontario product visited this summer.

He believes that a positive team culture is essential for a winning team: “The best teams are the tightest teams. Guys know each other well and like each other and do things together. No one is left out. That togetherness translates directly into wins.”

Connor sees the captaincy as an opportunity to grow and to contribute, just as he sees the switch to centre as an opportunity to grow his game. He’s not entirely new to the position; he played centre until he came to the Vipers and was converted to a power winger. He’s talked a lot with Josh Latta about playing centre and he’s looking forward to learning the finer points of winning faceoffs from the master of the faceoff circle, NHL alumnus Jerred Smithson.