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Journeyman Tarantino Enjoying Early Season Success


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Journeyman Tarantino Enjoying Early Season Success

 

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

            Since the inception of his VHL career, Gary Tarantino has been the definition of a journeyman. Joining the VHLM in Season 68, Tarantino signed with Mississauga as a free agent. However, he saw himself traded to San Diego towards the end of the regular season. After the season, Tarantino entered the Draft, where he was drafted by VHL club Helsinki and the Season 69 VHLM powerhouse Saskatoon. Tarantino played a role in Saskatoon’s obliteration of the league that season, winning his first Founder’s Cup. As Tarantino’s VHL career loomed, he was traded to Minnesota at the Season 70 trade deadline and won his second straight Founder’s Cup, all while notching a career-high 99 points in the regular season.

            Tarantino had a slow start to his VHL career with Helsinki. Midway through Season 71, the Titans traded him to Calgary, where he finished with only 8 points. In Season 72, with Calgary as a Continental Cup front-runner, the Wranglers included Tarantino in a trade to Prague to bolster their roster for a late-season run. Now, in Season 73, Tarantino finds himself on his seventh team in just six seasons. “It definitely takes a toll on you sometimes,” Tarantino said. “I spent many nights asking myself what I was doing wrong. Why don’t these teams want me? How can I better myself as a player? It was a lot of self-reflection.”

 

Finding His Footing

            While moving to a new city and team so many times may seem mentally draining, Tarantino doesn’t hold any grudges. “Although I may have been moved a bunch, I don’t wish any ill-will against the teams I previously played for. I genuinely hope those moves helped them improve and brought them success. At the end of the day, I show up to the rink with a smile on my face because I get to play hockey. I don’t care where it is.” While his development has been slow, it has been consistent. Tarantino says he had to re-think his practice plan. “In the M, I focused way too much on scoring during practice. Scoring goals is great and all, but I only scored 15 goals in my first two seasons down there. I had to re-think what I was doing in practice and become more of a team player. I’ve brought that up here to the Show and am seeing success with it.”

 

Phantom Phamily

            After coming to Prague from Calgary, Tarantino has played well. He increased his S71 point total by 28 points, and 11 games into Season 73 finds himself averaging just over a point a game with 8 goals, which leads the team. “Our line is on fire right now,” Tarantino said. “I’ve definitely become comfortable with the guys here. I think a big part of that is due to @animal74. Ondrej and I played in Saskatoon when we won the Cup and we had a good friendship. That helped me a lot in getting to know the rest of the guys here in Prague.” The relationship Tarantino has with his teammates has clearly caught the eye of management, as a 2-year deal was worked out and Tarantino staying on the books until at least Season 75. “I really like playing in Prague, was awesome to be offered a new deal. I hope to stay until I retire – this city deserves a trophy.”

 

Word Count: 570

Claiming for week ending 8/2 with VHL birthday triple week

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