Vinny Iorio Is Settling In To Life As A Pro: “Guys Are Stronger, They’re Faster And They’re Smarter”

Photo: Hartford Wolf Pack

Washington Capitals defensive prospect Vinny Iorio is settling into life in the American Hockey League (AHL) and settling into life in “small-town” Hershey as well. The Capitals’ second-round draft pick in 2021 made a short visit to Chocolate Town last spring at the end of his Junior hockey season, but is now a full-time resident of central Pennsylvania. For Iorio, it already feels like home.

“I think the fanbase here is one of the best in the league. The city itself is a very clean city. A little small town vibe, from where I come from. I come from a big city in Vancouver,” Iorio told Bears radio.

“Just being out here, it feels like home. Obviously, the fans have been fantastic, so far. The guys have been great and the whole staff has been great as well. We’re just moving into our new place, so there’s a lot of moving pieces, but it’s been awesome.”

Iorio knows the step from juniors to the pro level is the biggest step for a young player in their development. For Iorio, learning from the veterans and analyzing their play is key.

“Guys are stronger, they’re faster and they’re smarter. So, keeping up with that pace and just being consistent. A lot of the coaches have told all of the young guys, it’s a big step from juniors to pro. [I’m] grabbging different pieces and different details from different player’s games. And really just watching a lot of hockey and analyzing, is going to be a good key and big step for me.”

Iorio, just 19, participated in Capitals rookie camp and the team’s main training camp before being re-assigned to Hershey on October 2. For Iorio, being on the same ice as Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and John Carlson was a surreal experience.

“You’re trying not to be a fan boy. It’s a veteran team. There are just so many different moments in my childhood, growing up. Whether it be Ovi scoring all of those goals or Oshie at the Sochi Olympics or Carlson with the OT winner at the World Juniors. All these different things. I was a little kid. I was 7, 8 years old when these were happening, 10 years old,” said Iorio.

“To just be in the same room with them, talking with them in the gym, and passing to them on the ice, it’s just pretty surreal. You gotta be professional about everything, too, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job with that so far.”

Iorio brings a big personality and smiling face to work everyday. He understands that having fun is important, but that’s always been a big part of who he is.

“You never know when your last day’s going to be at the rink. For me, I’ve always been a happy kid. Seeing guys smile, just living life and being happy, but also being professional about everything. Understanding that it’s a long season ahead of us, and that we have to work hard. But there is nothing wrong with smiling and cracking jokes, too.”

The Bears return to action on Saturday in the first game of a home-and-home set with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Puck drop in Wilkes-Barre is set for 6:05PM.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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6 Responses to Vinny Iorio Is Settling In To Life As A Pro: “Guys Are Stronger, They’re Faster And They’re Smarter”

  1. novafyre says:

    Hope he never loses that passion, that enthusiasm, that joie de vivre.

  2. Anonymous says:

    He’s gonna be good in a couple of seasons. Still learning, but definitely has promise.

  3. Jonathan says:

    What upsets me when I read this is thinking that McMichael has been robbed of the learning that he could have had playing in Hershey. If his ultimate position should be center, than train him as a center. Do it right. It IS hard to make the jump from juniors to pros.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you. And it’s looking like you are very right. I think he gets sent down in the next day or two.

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