Ferraro embracing Sharks’ bright future amid personal offseason for the ages

A proposal, puppy and camping adventures have filled Mario Ferraro’s offseason while he eagerly awaits next season.

Ferraro embracing Sharks’ bright future amid personal offseason for the ages

Feature Photo: Getty Images

Mario Ferraro has already had an offseason for the ages.

The past few months for Ferraro, who has played five NHL seasons and all with the San Jose Sharks, has been filled with adventure and new beginnings.

It’s been taxing, in the best way, to say the least.

“I have had a lot going on,” said the 25-year-old defenceman, who you can keep up with through his YouTube vlog over at @YoungestofPlugs.

“It has been hectic. I think I’m more tired now than I am during the hockey season.”

A closer examination of his offseason so far would explain why.

There has been in no particular order a proposal, a new puppy, a coast-to-coast camping adventure and a fishing trip. And it’s only the end of June.

The events began not long after the Sharks’ season ended in mid-April.

“We had our exit meetings and a few team parties,” noted Ferraro. “A few days after that, Mckenna, who is now my fiancée, and I went on a big camping adventure.”

The 49th overall pick of San Jose in 2017 had an assist when it came to popping the question.

“Mckenna went to school in Malibu, so that’s where I proposed to her, along that trip in California. We went down the coast of the state, through Pismo Beach, we camped in Santa Barbara for a bit and ended up in Malibu.

“My sister came with us Mckenna had no idea why she was there because she brought the ring down from Toronto. We had to keep it quiet from Mckenna and that worked.”

The proposal was only the start of the West Coast adventure for the couple.

“That was the first two weeks, but after Malibu, we wanted to continue camping. So, we went up the coast. We like to go down south because we like Los Angeles, but we went up the coast this time. Last year, we went through Utah and Colorado, but this time, we wanted to go up the West Coast.

“We went through Yosemite, Tahoe, Mount Shasta and then through Oregon. We were in Coos Bay, a great fishing spot in Oregon, and then we went on to Portland.”

The trip to Oregon’s most populous city would, unexpectedly, add a passenger to the camping odyssey.

Already dog owners with a German shepherd named Wilder, the discussion of welcoming another dog to the family once again came up, this time in Portland.     

“Wilder was fired up about the whole trip. The only thing that got in the way of the trip was that I always wanted a Rottweiler. Our guy is always energetic and needs to play. We thought, ‘This guy needs a friend.’

“We didn’t plan on getting a dog, but mid-trip, in Portland, Mckenna said that there was a breeder in town. So, we decided to check him out. The dog’s parents were beautiful and so well-behaved and the puppies were so cute.”

The couple decided to take a night to decide whether to bring a new puppy into the fold or wait a while longer.

By sunrise, they had their answer.

“We went back to the campsite and the next morning, we said, ‘Let’s go back and get one.’ We got him, which might have been the stupidest idea. But we love him.”

It meant the couple, who made it all the way north to Seattle, had to trek cross-country back to their offseason home in Florida with a puppy in tow.

While it was a daunting thousands of miles back to the Sunshine State, the now foursome made the most of the trip.

“We made it fun and had a couple of camping adventures on the way back. We have been back in Florida about a month.”

The adventures didn’t end when they got back home.

After weeks under the stars, Ferraro opted for some days on the water.

“We rented some boats with friends and did some fishing trips on it.”

The couple has only recently taken some time to relax.

“I think there have been people here three of the four weeks we have been back,” said Ferraro with a laugh. “But it’s been awesome.”

Ferraro will now ramp up his training regimen.

He is optimistic the Sharks, who finished last in the league in 2023-24, have better days ahead.

Two big reasons, noted Ferraro, are the recent signing of top prospect Will Smith, the team’s fourth overall pick in 2023, and having the first overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, expected to be Boston University standout Macklin Celebrini.

“I’m completely pumped,” said Ferraro. “I am excited to get back at it. You watch the playoffs, and you see all the excitement around it, and it gets you motivated. It was a season none of us wanted, but we are excited about taking those steps forward.

“We had young guys last year and with Will Smith signing and having the No. 1 pick there’s some good buzz around our team and that’s what we want to hear. The free agent market is going to be big for us too. I’m excited to meet the new guys and reconnect with the guys from last year.”

Don’t expect Ferraro, one of San Jose’s alternate captains, to go into too much detail about his camping adventures with his teammates.

“They would look at me like I was crazy. ‘Who is this guy driving all the way from the West Coast to the East Coast?’    

“But, like you said, I am one with nature. I think that suits me.”