The American Hockey League has announced that the 2019-20 AHL regular season will be paused for the safety of its players, employees, and fans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A native of Merced, California, Marcello Martinelli begins his third season as head strength and conditioning coordinator for the Barracuda after serving as an intern with the Sharks in 2010. SJBarracuda.com sat down with Marcello recently to ask him a few questions as a part of the offseason staff spotlight series.
How many seasons have you worked for the Barracuda?
This is my third season with the Barracuda, and I did one season with the San Jose Sharks as an intern.
How long have you been working in sports?
I’ve been in sports for most of my life, but specifically strength and conditioning probably since 2007-08. That’s when I really began focusing on training and getting involved in nutrition.
Where were you before you joined the Barracuda?
Before San Jose, I worked a year in San Diego at Velocity Sports Performance where we worked with a handful of different kinds of athletes that included soccer players, baseball players, football players, basketball players and more. And then I ran the entire strength and conditioning program at Golden Valley High School in Merced, California where I was in charge of overseeing more than 300 athletes of all grades and sports.
How did you begin working in sports and did you play as a kid?
Growing up in the central valley we didn’t have any ice rinks, I think just within the last eight-to-10 years they built an ice rink in Fresno, so we played a little street hockey from time to time but growing up I pretty much played any sport possible. Soccer, baseball, football, golf, tennis, just anything to stay active. In high school I played a lot of baseball and tried to play in college but ended up injuring myself so my career came to a stop after that point in junior college. That injury really sparked my passion and curiosity for training and injury prevention.
What has been your fondest memory as the strength and conditioning coach of the Barracuda?
Probably my first season when we made it to the Conference Finals, we had a great group that year and a lot of buy-in from all the players. I’m really looking forward to the team we have this upcoming season. It’s going to be a lot of young guys that bought in last year and a lot of vets that are already invested into the entire program so this season is going to be an exciting one.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part is seeing guys put in the work and then be rewarded for it with a call up to the Sharks and seeing them be successful. Or other guys I’ve had for a year and now they’re with the Sharks. Guys like Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier that were with me for pretty much that whole first year and once they were up they were able to fit right in.
How do you and Mike Potenza, the Sharks Strength and Conditioning Coordinator, work together to ensure a consistent message for players?
The big thing is he was one of the first people I learned from when I first began working in the business. I interned for him in 2010 and my mindset is very similar to his and to Kevin Neeld his assistant. We try and meet once a month and try to coordinate and talk about the different things that we’re doing. If we have questions about a player that has been recalled or reassigned we have a great line of communication to ensure the player can maximize his growth whether he’s up or down and that we can focus on important areas for that specific player. It's a total team effort.