Buffalo Sabres Insider App Twitter Facebook

LOCAL PLAYERS ON THE RISE

Tuesday, 07.01.2008 / 1:09 PM / Features
By Erin Pollina  - Sabres.com
X
Share with your Friends


LOCAL PLAYERS ON THE RISE
Andrew Orpik (Photo: Getty Images)
The Queen City is rapidly becoming hockey royalty.

With more players being selected in the NHL Entry Draft from Western New York each year, the city is earning recognition as a bona fide hockeytown.

“I think a lot of credit goes to the Sabres. The more successful they are, the more little kids are watching and getting excited about the game,” said Andrew Orpik. “Kids kind of look at you and say ‘yeah it is possible’ and maybe they want to play.”

Since 2005 there have been 26 players from the Empire State drafted by NHL teams.

Of those 26 selections, 12 have come from the Buffalo area.

Orpik, an East Amherst native, was selected 227th overall by the Sabres in 2005, holding onto the theory that success breeds success.

“You look back a couple years ago and the Sabres get to the Eastern Conference Finals, the whole city rallied around the team,” he said. “Everyone was wearing their Sabres gear to school, to work, and it gave people something to get excited about.”

Now fans are eager to watch local products, such as the Chicago Blackhawks’ Pat Kane (Buffalo, NY), Sabres’ Pat Kaleta (Angola, NY) and St. Louis Blues’ Lee Stempniak (West Seneca, NY), in addition to their hometown team.

"The number of participants in youth leagues across Buffalo has significantly risen," said Sabres Public Relations Director Mike Gilbert. "In Amherst Hockey alone there has been double-digit growth over the past few years totaling more than 1,300 kids in the organization."

“When I was young I liked the Sabres but it was more of a Bills town,” Oprik said. “I think now you are seeing a shift from when the Bills were great, making four straight Super Bowl [appearances], to now the Sabres are the contenders every year.”

Local schools, such as Niagara University and Canisius College, are also attracting more attention for their hockey programs.

“They are in such competitive conferences now and college hockey is getting better and better every year,” Orpik said. “To have two teams like that around here is really beneficial to the city. It may not get the recognition quite yet that it needs, but the more kids coming out of this area [other kids] are going to be watching growing up and they will want to come here to play.”

“You have to start taking it more seriously,” said Buffalo Sabres Director of Amateur Scouting Kevin Devine. “They’ve got a kid [at Canisius], Vincent Scarsella, who is a pretty good player, local kid… He is on the radar, and you know what it does is if scouts say we’ve got to see this kid in Canisius and you go down there and you say ‘this is a pretty good league. We should get watching it a little bit more.’ I think it’s going to give a little bit more attention to those places… With more and more local kids coming out of the Buffalo area I would think the scale of coverage would pick up.”

Scarsella joins three other Buffalo natives at development camp as an invitee for the Sabres this week as he, Orpik, Kaleta and Tim Kennedy look to impress the scouts along with other prospects.

“Buffalo has always been a hockey town, I just think now people are recognizing it more,” Kennedy said. “With hockey, you don’t have to be the biggest kid, the strongest kid to play. It’s all about skill, it’s a game you can work on.

“It’s a game that any kid can have fun playing, a special game that kids love and it’s fun to watch. I think that’s why kids love playing hockey and Buffalo is a great place to do it in.”

NHL DRAFT PICKS FROM BUFFALO SINCE 2005


YEAR NAME BIRTHPLACE NHL TEAM
2008 Thomas McCollum Amherst, NY Detroit Red Wings
2007 Patrick Kane Buffalo, NY Chicago Blackhawks
2007 Phil Desimone East Amherst, NY Washington Capitals
2007 Justin Vaive Buffalo, NY Anaheim Ducks
2006 Nick Foligno Buffalo, NY Ottawa Senators
2006 Michael Ratchuk Buffalo, NY Philadelphia Flyers
2006 Kevin Quick Buffalo, NY Tampa Bay Lightning
2006 Shane Sims East Amherst, NY New York Islanders
2006 Brett Bennett Buffalo, NY Phoenix Coyotes
2005 Tim Kennedy Buffalo, NY Washington Capitals
2005 Nicholas Tuzzolino Buffalo, NY New York Islanders
2005 Andrew Orpik East Amherst, NY Buffalo Sabres

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82