Mike Rocca (Left) accepts his award from Sarnia Sports Hall of Fame President Dale Patterson
Pappy Burr Award recipient Mike Rocca was in town on Thursday to receive the Pappy Burr Award that was presented by Sarnia Lambton Sports Hall of Fame president Dale Patterson.
Rocca was one of two Pappy Burr award recipients, the other went to St. Clair student Ashley Bisson who accepted her award previously this month.
"It's an honour." Rocca said "I've been blessed with good teams and good program and at St. Chris my coaches for basketball have been great mentors for me and made me the player I am."
Getting to where he is today the young star had a few bumps as he had to sit out a season due to hip surgery. He was told that the surgery might end his athletic career.
"That hit me pretty hard." Rocca said "But I managed to recover in three months and get back playing again. That really showed me how much I have to appreciate basketball and sports in general."
Rocca worked hard during that time getting up at five and going to rehab before school then back again after school and in the evening.
"Everything's perfect now." Rocca said with a big smile.
Mike's father Emilio Rocca owner of Rocks Custom Embroidery where the presentation was made, is proud of his son but was unable to talk about his son without emotion. "The look on his face when Mike was told that he may not be able to play again was so devastating to my wife (Maria) and I. We are so proud of him, of his determination and what he was able to do in just three months to get back into playing".
Basketball runs in the family as Emilio and wife Maria met at Fanshawe Colledge and both played College Basketball. Emilio was inducted into the Sarnia Lambton Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 under the Amateur Category. The Senior Rocca was named an OCAA All-Star four years in a row and named twice CCAA All-Canadian. He finished his career with 1,434 points and he was inducted in 2005 to the OCAA Hall of Fame.
Mike's Mother Maria, was an outstanding player as well earning numerous awards along with being a member of Ladies team that won the Ontario Championships twice and went to the Canadian Finals.
Mike has two older brothers, Chris, the eldest is entering his fourth year at Western played on the Varsity hockey team for three years. Chris is also an all around athlete who played Basketball, Football but chose to persue hockey after high school. After three years of hockey he is hanging up his skates and will be trying out for the golf team. Brother Joe is attending McMaster University entering into his third year and is a member of the Varsity Basketball team at McMaster. Mike will be attending the University of Windsor in the fall and will be studying Business.
There will be a bit of rivalry in the family as Mike and Joe will be competing against each other in the upcoming season.
"I can't wait, I'm going to go at him." Mike said "We won't be brothers during that game. After the game we'll be good but during the game it's going to be war."
The Hall of Fame presents the student awards before they head off to school. The Induction and Award ceremony will be held on Saturday September 28 at the Camlachie Community Center. Ticket Cost is $40.00 Adult - $15.00 children 12 and under. For tickets or more information contact any member listed on the board of directors: http://www.sarniasports.com/Halloffame/directors.html .