The Official Site of the Buffalo Sabres Twitter Insider Mobile App Twitter Facebook The Official Site of the Buffalo Sabres

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

GRUTTADAURIA ROCKS THE RIDGE

The former Buffalo Jr. Sabre is now a freshman at Niagara University

Thursday, 10.25.2012 / 4:06 PM ET / Features
By Derek Wangler  - Digital Media Intern
X
Share with your Friends


GRUTTADAURIA ROCKS THE RIDGE
false
Rocky Gruttadauria (Photo: Niagara U.)

“That’s why you play Junior “A” hockey - to go to college. Especially at the Division I level. When I got that offer, it was like, obviously my hard work paid off and I couldn’t really pass that up.”

Those are the words of Niagara Purple Eagles freshman forward Rocky Gruttadauria, who spent the last two seasons for the Buffalo Junior Sabres. But just as he was about to start his third, he got a call from Niagara University.

“I wanted to play another year of junior, especially because I got to know all the guys and stuff. But I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that,” Gruttadauria explains.

Gruttadauria grew up in Spencerport, NY, where he played hockey for Spencerport High School and the Rochester Red Wings organization. For his junior year he went on to play “AAA” hockey for Monroe County. After graduating he moved away from home and joined the Jr. Sabres.

Gruttadauria describes his experience: “It was pretty eye opening. I moved away from home, I learned how to live on my own and everything like that my first year. The hockey was a real big step for me too, I had to adjust.”

Playing for the Jr. Sabres helped Gruttadauria get an offer from Niagara University. “That league is a good stepping stone for college hockey. A lot of programs are getting a bunch of the top players from that league. Getting used to everything at the junior level definitely prepared me for this level.”

Gruttadauria admits he doesn’t believe he was one of the top players in the OJHL, but his hard work is what got him where he is today. “I play a hard-working style of hockey that people can look to to get fired up. I’ll get a big hit if we need it or fight if we need it.”

That type of team-first attitude is how Gruttadauria earned the respect of his teammates. Current Jr. Sabres assistant captain Ryan Schmelzer looked up to Rocky as a leader when they played together.

“Rocky was a great leader on and off the ice,” said Schmelzer. “He was very passionate and pushed us to do our best every practice and game.”

In his first game with Niagara, Gruttadauria was thrown into the starting lineup because of a few injuries. He made his opportunity count by scoring a goal in that game. He went on to receive AHA Rookie of the Week honors for the first week of October. “I just didn’t want to hold anything back for that game so I could be in the lineup for the next one,” said Gruttadauria.

His hard work has paid off. Gruttadauria has become a staple of the Purple Eagles lineup, collecting one goal and one assist while playing in all five of the team’s games. He’ll get a chance to add to those totals this weekend as Niagara travels to Clarkson, NY to face the Clarkson Golden Knights on Friday and Saturday. Both games start at 7 p.m., and can be heard live on WJJL 1440AM and PurpleEagles.com.


As for the current edition of the Jr. Sabres, they occupy top spot in the OJHL’s West Division with a record of 12-6-1. Forward Tyler Gjurich is third in the league in scoring with 26 points (11+15). The team continues to cash in with the man advantage, scoring 27 power play goals in just 19 games.

The Jr. Sabres play three games in three days this weekend, starting Friday when the St. Michaels Buzzers pay a visit to the Northtown Center at 7:30 p.m. They hit the road on Saturday to face the Toronto Junior Canadiens (7:30 p.m.), before returning home Sunday to host the Georgetown Raiders at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on upcoming Jr. Sabres games, check out their web site at www.buffalojrsabres.pointstreaksites.com

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL
Sabres.com is the official Web site of The Buffalo Sabres. The Buffalo Sabres and Sabres.com are trademarks of The Hockey Western New York, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 The Hockey Western New York, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS & CONDITIONS | NHL.COM TERMS OF USE | OFFICIAL PARTNERS | CONTACT THE SABRES | EMPLOYMENT/INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES | AdChoices