As dictated by the COVID-19 crisis, time is standing still in the hockey world. Still, as for time away from the hockey rink, Sault Ste. Marie product Nick Porco is putting it to good use.
The 2001 birth year left winger has now completed three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League since the Saginaw Spirit took him in the first round of the 2017 priority selections draft.
Now standing in at six feet and up to 185 pounds, the likeable Porco developed enough in Saginaw that the Dallas Stars took him in the fifth round of the 2019 National Hockey League draft after he scored 20 goals for the Spirit during the 2018-2019 OHL regular season.
The recent 2019-2020 OHL season was not without challenges for Porco, however.
After scoring four goals in 14 games for Saginaw to begin the season, Porco was traded to the Barrie Colts after requesting a transfer from the Spirit.
Unfortunately, Porco never really hit his stride in Barrie.
Not only did he fall ill and subsequently miss several weeks of hockey because of mononucleosis, Porco had to deal with the death of his maternal grandfather back in the Sault.
“It was one thing after another,” Porco said of the 2019-2020 season. “It was hard to get into a groove. There wasn’t one point in the season, except for maybe the last few games, that I felt like myself.”
An upside to the season, though, did occur just before play was shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis.
In a pair of weekend games with two members of the aforementioned Dallas Stars watching — Rich Peverley and J.J. McQueen of the NHL team’s player development department — Porco at long last looked and felt like himself.
“Both Rich and J.J. came up to me at the end of the game and told me that was the best they had seen me look in a long time,” Porco recalled. “I am looking forward to when hockey gets going again and returning to Barrie at some point.”
In all, Porco played in just 50 games between Saginaw and Barrie in 2019-2020 and totaled nine goals, 11 assists, 20 points.
At any rate, working out at home is keeping Porco busy and in tip top shape these days.
“I feel great,” he relayed, adding that he feels “no symptoms” from his bout with mononucleosis. “I am working out every day and feeling really good. I am running and lifting weights and keeping busy.”