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Memorial Day Weekend

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To all of our followers, please have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend from the staff of NY Hockey OnLine.

Emma Faso Repeats As Female Athlete of The Year

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Congrats to Emma Faso for being named Clarence High School’s Female Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row!! One of the teams she plays for is the CASH (Clarence, Amherst and Sweet Home) Girls High School Ice Hockey Team.

(Photo From CASH Hockey Team)

Niagara’s Curran Turns Pro

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Curran Lands Deal With Coventry Blaze

COVENTRY, England – Former Niagara men’s hockey player Johnny Curran (’19) has agreed to a deal to play professionally with the Coventry Blaze of the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL). 

Curran recently completed a four-year career with the Purple Eagles that saw the 2018-19 squad reach its first appearance in the Atlantic Hockey championship game after nine years as a league member. In 131 games in the Purple and White, the forward tallied 26 goals and 29 assists.  The native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, served as one of three alternate captains in his senior season and set career highs for assists (13) and points (20) to go along with seven goals, finishing sixth in team scoring.

Niagara’s current volunteer goaltending coach, Dr. Ian Burt, played for the Blaze during the 2001-02 season following a four-year career at Cornell University.

Former Niagara University captain Sean Bentivoglio (’07) has spent each of the past three seasons in the EIHL with the Cardiff Devils. Carsen Chubak (’13) played one season each with the Belfast Giants and Edinburgh Capitals. Chubak’s stint with Edinburgh in 2015-16 was shared with another Niagara alum, Paul Zanette (’11). In total, nine former Purple Eagles have played 13 seasons in the EIHL.

Coventry’s current roster features three players who have played at Atlantic Hockey schools: Ben Lake (Sacred Heart ’15), Kevin Noble (Mercyhurst ’12), and Shawn Pauly (UConn ’16), who competed for the Huskies during the program’s last two years in the AHA.

The Blaze have called Coventry home since 2000 but trace their roots back to 1965 and the Solihull Barons. Coventry finished the 2018-19 season with a 27-25-8 record (62 points), good enough for eighth place in the 11-team league and the final playoff spot. Coventry were dispatched, two games to none, in the opening round by the regular season-champion Belfast Giants. The team is a two-time EIHL playoff champion, most recently winning the Grand Final in 2014-15.

Elmira’s Granato Honored

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Elmira College’s Katie Granato ’19 Earns Google Cloud Academic All-District® Accolades


GREENWOOD, Ind. — 
Senior Katie Granato ’19 received yet another award following an outstanding season with the nationally-ranked Elmira College women’s ice hockey team, this time for academic achievement, as she was named to the 2018-19 Google Cloud Academic All-District® Women’s At-Large Team on Thursday afternoon.

As selected by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), the 2018-19 Google Cloud Academic All-District® Team recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances in the athletic realm and in the classroom. As a First-Team honoree in District III, which covers all colleges and universities in New York, Granato will advance to the Google Cloud Academic All-America® ballot.

The 2018-19 United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) Player of the Year and CCM/American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-American First-Team selection, Granato was one of the top offensive threats in the country. She led the team and conference with a career-high 45 points, fourth-most in all of Division III. The forward from Naperville, Illinois, was fourth nationally in points (1.61) and goals (0.93) per game.

Granato keyed upsets against defending national champion Norwich University in the team’s season-opener and against No. 1/2-ranked Plattsburgh State in the East-West Hockey Classic title game with a pair of hat tricks. On the night she reached 100 career points, she logged a career-high seven points (4g-3a) in a blowout victory over Lebanon Valley College in November. Granato also added three points in a pair tournament games to help the Soaring Eagles win a second consecutive UCHC Championship.

Off of the ice, Granato maintained a 3.70 cumulative grade-point average as a Nursing major. She’s been inducted to numerous honor societies at EC, including the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society. She’s garnered a pair of All-Academic Team awards from the ECAC West and UCHC, and is expecting another this summer.

Google Cloud Academic All-America® Teams, as chosen by CoSIDA, will be announced in June. Last year, Granato’s former teammates, Ari Smith ’18 and Sarah Hughson ’18, became the first student-athletes from Elmira’s storied women’s ice hockey program to collect Academic All-America plaudits.

(Elmira College Photo)

Colgate’s Leclerc Named Head Coach For Norwich

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HAMILTON – Norwich named Colgate’s Sophie Leclerc its new head coach for women’s hockey in a Friday announcement.

Leclerc just completed her fourth season as an assistant coach for Colgate Women’s Hockey, the last three as the top assistant.

During her four seasons, the Raiders compiled a 101-36-10 (.721) record, including a 59-20-9 (.722) mark in ECAC Hockey. Her stay included Colgate’s first NCAA appearance, which led to the 2017-18 Raiders advancing all the way to the national championship game.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Sophie for the past four years,” Colgate head coach Greg Fargo said. “She’s become a great friend as well as integral part of the Colgate women’s hockey program, Colgate Athletics and the Hamilton community.

“Norwich is getting a strong leader, great coach and even better person to lead its women’s hockey program into the future.”

Leclerc is a Norwich graduate and Vermont native who starred for the Cadets and later served two seasons as the primary assistant coach. During her Norwich career, Leclerc was a member of the school’s inaugural varsity program. Four years later, she led them to a national championship.

“We have been very fortunate over the past four-years to have Sophie leading our student-athletes on the ice as well as helping them navigate their collegiate experience,” Fargo said. “This next career move for her was inevitable as she is as talented a coach as they come.

“The opportunity to take the head coaching reigns at her alma-mater is the perfect fit for her to continue her journey, and we are thrilled for her.”

(Colgate Photo)

RIT’s Brubacher Honored

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ROCHESTER, NY – Junior defenseman Adam Brubacher (Elmira, Ontario/Powell River Kings) of the RIT men’s hockey team, was named to the 2019 Google Cloud Division I Academic All-District® Men’s At-Large team, selected by CoSIDA on Friday, May 17. This award recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom. First-team Academic All-District® honorees advance to the Google Cloud Academic All-America® ballot, with first and second team Academic All-America® honorees to be announced in June.

Brubacher, who won RIT’s Green B. Williams Award for Academic Excellence in both 2017-18 and 2018-19, carries a tremendous 4.0 grade-point average as a business marketing major. On the ice, he enjoyed an excellent season in 2018-19, recording a career-best total of 31 points on seven goals and 24 assists, while appearing in all 38 games. Brubacher recorded eight multiple-point games, including three different three-point outings. Brubacher earned 2018-19 All-Atlantic Hockey Third Team honors.

The 2017 Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year, Brubacher is now fourth all-time among all RIT defenseman in career scoring at the Division I level with 78 points on 22 goals and 56 assists in 112 games. In addition, he was named RIT’s Craig Lauzon Award Winner as Rookie of the Year in 2016-17 and won the Tim Cordick Award as top defenseman in 2018-19.

Brubacher will serve as a team captain for the Tigers in 2019-20.

Off the ice, Brubacher is an honors student, six-time Dean’s List recipient and earned Beta Gamma Sigma Honors and a Saunders College of Business Merit Scholarship with one of the top business student grade-point averages.

RIT finished the 2018-19 season with 17 wins and advanced to the Atlantic Hockey Semifinals.

Manhattanville Hockey Duo Honored

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Arfelt and Lippa named to CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team

PURCHASE, N.Y. – Senior First Team American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-Americans Matt Lippa (Richmond Hill, Ont./Oakville Blades (OJHL)) and Oscar Arfelt (Stockholm, Sweden/Connecticut Oilers (EHL)) of the Manhattanville College men’s hockey team have collected yet another set of honors, as both earned spots on the Google Cloud CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-District First Team.

The pair becomes the fifth and sixth players in program history to earned the distinction, and the fourth and fifth to earn sports on the First Team.

Two major contributors to the No. 13 team in the nation’s NCAA Quarterfinal run, Lippa and Arfelt have continued to reel in the postseason honors. Lippa completed his career as the all-time leading goal scorer in program history and is second in points, while Arfelt led all of Division III defensemen in points per game for the majority of the season, and finished the year third overall. Both earned First Team All-Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) and United College Hockey Conference (UCHC), while Lippa was also named UCHC co-Player of the Year and Manhattanville Male Athlete of the Year.

All First Team Academic All-District honorees automatically advance to the Academic All-America voting ballot. The First, Second and Third Academic All-America Teams will be announced in June. The Valiants have had eight Academic All-Americans – including one men’s hockey player – and Lippa and Arfelt, along with softball graduate student Alycia Feeney, look to make it 11 after this year.

Brianna Decker Fund Created

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USA Hockey Foundation Introduces the Brianna Decker Endowment for Girls Hockey
Fund created by Olympic champion Brianna Decker will help grow and develop 8U and 10U girls hockey programs
 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey announced today the establishment of the Brianna Decker Endowment for Girls Hockey, a fund created through the USA Hockey Foundation by 2018 Olympic gold medalist Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.).The fund will provide grants to 8U and 10U female hockey programs within the Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association in its first year with the intent to grow nationwide in years to come. The first grant from the Brianna Decker Endowment Fund will be awarded to the Waukesha County Youth Hockey Association, the organization where Decker herself played growing up.”I’m so excited to be able to create a fund that will help give more girls access to the sport that has given me so much,” said Decker. “Growing up a Waukesha Warhawk, I’m especially proud to be able to give back to the organization that helped foster my love of the game. I can’t wait to see the impact it will have for the next generation.”Awards specific to this fund will be used exclusively to develop programs focused on increasing female youth participation in hockey by alleviating costs around ice and equipment, advertising and marketing, and overall development. To contribute to the fund, please visit USAHockeyFoundation.com/DonateNowand select Brianna Decker Endowment Fund for Girls Hockey in the dropdown menu.ABOUT DECKERDecker is a two-time U.S. Olympic medalist and six-time International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship gold medalist who has been a mainstay at forward for the U.S. Women’s National Team for the past decade. Most recently, Decker helped the U.S. Women’s National Team claim its fifth consecutive world title at the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Espoo, Finland, and she was also a member of the gold medal-winning 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team that claimed victory in thrilling shootout fashion at the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games.Decker spent the 2018-19 season playing for the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which culminated in a victory over Montreal in the Clarkson Cup Final. She also previously helped the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League win the 2016 Isobel Cup. A 2013 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Decker helped the Badgers to the Division I national championship in 2011 and earned the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the top player in women’s college hockey in 2012.Decker was also recently named an assistant coach for the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team for the second consecutive year after making her debut behind the bench last year at the 2018 Under-18 Series vs. Canada. She has previously served as a coach at various Central District camps and at USA Hockey Girls Under-18 Select Player Development Camps underscoring her commitment to growing the game and helping girls achieve their full potential in hockey.
NOTES: The Brianna Decker Endowment Fund was created by the USA Hockey Foundation using the funds donated by the National Hockey League in Brianna Decker’s name following the 2019 NHL All-Star Skills Competition… The USA Hockey Foundation has been the charitable arm of USA Hockey, Inc., since 1989. The Foundation’s purpose is to enhance the mission of USA Hockey, Inc., by supporting USA Hockey teams, programs and initiatives, in addition to making grants to various member organizations that share its values which directly impact hockey in the United States.
(nhl.com photo)

Krueger Named Sabres Head Coach

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BUFFALO, NY — Ralph Krueger was hired as coach of the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.

The 59-year-old replaces Phil Housley, who was fired April 7 after his second season as Sabres coach. Buffalo (33-39-10) missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth straight season and finished 13th in the Eastern Conference, 22 points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card.

“I am excited and honored to join the Buffalo Sabres family and will strive to maximize the potential that lies within this team,” Krueger said. “I look forward to building on the many positives that have been established within the organization and I am especially eager to get behind the bench and represent this passionate hockey city.”

Krueger, who was chairman of the Southampton Football Club in the English Premier League for five years before leaving the job April 12, was coach of the Edmonton Oilers in 2012-13. The Oilers finished that shortened season 19-22-7 and did not qualify for the playoffs.

Krueger has a reputation of being a solid communicator, who is particularly adept in relating to younger players.

“When we talked to some of the players that had worked under Ralph, some star players in the National Hockey League that had worked under Ralph [in Edmonton], that was some of things they had talked about,” Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said. “They felt whether it was practice drills, looking through video, he was looking for innovative ways to help improve his players. There was a real buy-in from the players that this guy cared about them and this guy wanted the best, not only for them individually but for the team. I think when players feel that, it’s a buy-in from both sides.

“We understand that where we want to go as an organization, allowing some of our young players to make that jump from Rochester (of the American Hockey League) to Buffalo is going to be key. A big part of our success if going to be the development of [defenseman] Rasmus Dahlin, the development of [center] Jack Eichel, the development of [center] Sam Reinhart, [center] Casey Mittelstadt — players who are already at the National Hockey League level. The fact that we’re going to expect Ralph to communicate well with them, expect Ralph to help their development to move along here for our organization to get to the next step.”

Krueger also coached Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, when it lost in the championship game to Team Canada.

“Our main focus was just trying someone that can communicate with our young players, that can get the most out of our young players moving forward here,” Botterill said, “so is it an added benefit that he’s been in the international scene a little bit and understands a little bit more, whether it’s his time coaching in Austria, coaching in Switzerland, being in England? Certainly that’s a benefit that he can build a stronger personal relationship with some of our European players. But we think that’s an important element to get that relationship with our players, whether they’re from Europe or from North America.”

NHL.com correspondent Heather Engel contributed to this report

(NHL.com photo)

“Happy Mothers Day”

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From the staff of NY Hockey OnLine “Happy Mothers Day” to all of the hockey moms, grandmothers and god mothers. Have a wonderful day!

USA Hockey Reports Record Number of 8U Players

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Record Number of 8U Players Part of USA Hockey in 2018-19
Flint, Michigan native becomes record-breaker as 8-and-Under participation reaches fourth consecutive record-breaking season
 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – For the fourth consecutive season, USA Hockey has established a new single-season 8-and-Under participation record with Flint, Michigan, producing USA Hockey’s 122,136th 8U player in 2018-19. The season total of 123,303 marks the sixth-straight season in which USA Hockey has seen an increase in 8U participation.Hayes, the record-breaking player this season, developed an interest in hockey through the participation and passion from family members. That interest grew by attending a Detroit Red Wings game at Little Caesars Arena – his first-ever NHL game – and shortly thereafter resulted in his enrollment in the Flint Firebirds organization located at Flint Iceland Arena.USA Hockey is once again on pace for season-over-season player participation increases in youth and girls classifications as the results mark USA Hockey’s ninth consecutive year exceeding 100,000 participants at the 8U level.The combination of participation surges in both longtime hockey hotbeds and also in newer markets has driven the consistent growth. Measured by USA Hockey affiliate, Nevada showed the largest year-over-year 8U participation gains, increasing by 116%. Meanwhile, Minnesota (18,769), Massachusetts (13,320) and New York (12,771) posted the largest 8U participation totals by state.

Sabres Prospect Wins OHL’s Red Tilson Trophy

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Wolves’ Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen voted Red Tilson Trophy winner as OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League announced that Buffalo Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen of the Sudbury Wolves is the 2018-19 recipient of the Red Tilson Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year as voted by the writers and broadcasters that cover the league.

Luukkonen becomes the sixth goaltender to win the award and the first member of the Wolves to be honoured in 40 years since Mike Foligno was the club’s first award recipient back in 1979.  The Finnish netminder is also the first European import player to be recognized.

“I am so honoured to have been named the Red Tilson Award winner,” Luukkonen said. “There are so many great players in the OHL who could have won this award and I am humbled to have been chosen. I want to thank the Sudbury Wolves organization for giving me a chance to play. I want to especially thank my teammates, Owner Dario Zulich, GM Rob Papineau, and my coaches, including goaltender coach Alain Valiquette and trainer Dan Buckland, for everything they have done for me.”

Luukkonen backstopped the Wolves to their most successful regular season since 1994-95.  In their crease he tied for the league lead with 38 wins and six shutouts while posting the OHL’s third best goals-against-average with a mark of 2.50 and the best save percentage at .920.  His GAA, SV%, and shutout total established new franchise records while his 38 wins are the second most in a single season in franchise history behind only Jim Bedard who won 40 games in 1975-76.

“Ukko had a remarkable and memorable season for the Sudbury Wolves in so many different ways,” said Wolves Vice-President and General Manager Rob Papineau. “To be recognized by the OHL writers and media as the winner of the prestigious Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL’s most outstanding player is so deserving and outstanding for him. As the season went on, so many people would talk about how great of a goalie Ukko is but this award is really special as it recognizes that he is in fact the most outstanding player in the OHL at any position. When you get to know him, Ukko really is the most outstanding player, goalie, and person, and he truly does deserve this great award.”

The 20-year-old from Espoo, Finland, began his OHL career on September 28 just three months after being chosen third overall in the 2018 CHL Import Draft.  He won his first five regular season starts and would later produce impressive winning streaks of 11 and eight straight games throughout 2018-19 compiling an overall record of 38-11-2-2.  His efforts helped the Wolves finish second in the Central Division standings with 43 wins and 91 points.  This season Luukkonen was also selected as the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year in a unanimous vote by the league’s General Managers and represents the club as a first time recipient for that award.

“Ukko is an elite goaltender and a terrific young man,” said Wolves Head Coach Cory Stillman. “From the start of the season he was our best player in almost every game. He has a calm confidence about himself that allows him to control the outcome of a game. Ukko has all the tools to one day be a star in the National Hockey League.”

The second round pick by the Sabres in the 2017 NHL Draft signed his entry-level contract with the club back in June, 2018.  In January, Luukkonen won gold for Finland at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship and was voted to the tournament’s All-Star team.  Following the OHL season he made his American Hockey League debut stopping 32 shots on April 14 in a victory for the Rochester Americans.

“We are very excited that Ukko-Pekka has been named the Ontario Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player,” Buffalo Sabres Assistant General Manager Steve Greeley said. “We are very happy with his development and growth within the opportunity that he was given by the Sudbury Wolves and the OHL during this past season.”

The Red Tilson Trophy is the most prestigious individual award presented by the Ontario Hockey League.  First presented in 1945, the trophy is named in honour of Albert “Red” Tilson, who was killed in action in Europe during World War II. Tilson was the OHA scoring champion for the 1942-43 season after scoring 19 goals and 38 assists for 57 points in 22 games with the Oshawa Generals.


Accredited media were asked to select their top three choices from the 20 nominees submitted by all 20 member clubs.  Players received five points for a first place selection, three points for second place and one point for a third place selection.  Luukkonen received 201 points in the voting process appearing on over 80% of the ballots cast.  Overage Player of the Year Justin Brazeau of the North Bay Battalion finished in second place with 127 voting points, followed by OHL Top Scorer Jason Robertson of the Niagara IceDogs who received 123 voting points.

Recent Red Tilson Trophy recipients include Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia 2018), Alex DeBrincat (Erie 2017), Mitch Marner (London 2016), Connor McDavid (Erie 2015), Connor Brown (Erie 2014), and Vincent Trocheck (Plymouth 2013).  Michael Houser (London 2012) was the last goaltender to win the award following Andrew Raycroft (Kingston 2000), Bill Harrington (Kitchener 1952), Glenn Hall (Windsor 1951), and Gil Mayer (Barrie 1949).  Gilbert Perrault (Montreal 1970) is perhaps the most notable Red Tilson Trophy winner to later play for the Sabres along with others like Dale McCourt (St. Catharines 1977), Mike Foligno (Sudbury 1979), Doug Gilmour (Cornwall 1983), John Tucker (Kitchener 1984), Ray Sheppard (Cornwall 1986), Brian Campbell (Ottawa 1999), and Cody Hodgson (Brampton 2009) who all played multiple seasons in Buffalo.

The Red Tilson Trophy winner is the OHL’s nominee for Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year presented at the CHL Awards Ceremony on Saturday May 25 during the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia which takes place in Halifax.  Luukkonen will be formally presented with the Red Tilson Trophy at the OHL’s Awards Ceremony on Wednesday June 5 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

11 Inducted Into Howell Motors Hockey Hall of Fame

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BY RANDY SCHULTZ –

LOCKPORT, NY — Eleven new members were recently inducted into the Howell Motors Hockey Hall of Fame. The new inductees were inducted at ceremonies held at the Cornerstone Arena in Lockport.

The newest members included Contributors: Joe Dockery,  Mr. and Mrs. James Geier and the Union Sun & Journal Sports Department; Coaches Jim Hildreth and Doug Puff; Players Len DeFazio, Ken French, Michael Marotta, Rich LaTona, Tim Mulvey and Madison Sansone.

Three-time Sled Hockey Paralympian gold medalist Adam Page was the guest speaker. Veteran hockey writer Randy Schultz was the Master of Ceremonies.

Dockery didn’t know much about hockey early in his life. But as he learned the game he moved up the ladder, eventually becoming the youth hockey chairman of the Lockport Amateur Hockey Association.

The Geier’s were involved in Kenan Center hockey for many years, with Jim serving in the coaching ranks and Linda appointed Kenan Arena Director in the mid-1980s. She served in that capacity until her retirement in 2000.

The US&J sports department has covered hockey in the Lockport area since the early 1960s. The work of John Hoy, Craig Connell and John D’Onofrio has kept hockey in front of the public for over half a century. Alex Chiara accepted the award on behalf of the US&J.

Hildreth enjoyed success with all of the teams he coached. He is especially remembered for his final coaching stint with the Lockport High School Club Hockey team.

Coaching hockey became a large part of Puff’s life. He credits his success to the cooperation, understanding and patience of his wife, Karen, and two faithful and valuable assistant coaches including Jim Geier and All Kramp.

DeFazio played hockey for many years including his years spent playing for Lockport High School. He was part of the 1982 and 1983 New York State Championship teams and was selected for the Western New York All-Star Team in 1983.

French was also a member of the Lions NYS Championship Teams of ’82 and ’83. He was also named All-Western New York in 1983.

Marotta co-captained the Lockport HS team in 1988 that finished the season unbeaten at 39-0-1. He scored 22 points in a five-game run in the New York State tournament that year.

LaTona played on the 2006 Lockport HS team that qualified for the WNY High School Club Hockey Sectionals and with a win over Hutch Tech, advanced to the semi-finals and qualified for the State Championships.

Mulvey didn’t begin playing organized hockey until he was 12. But he made the most of it in a short time, playing for teams in the Kenan House League as well as Club Hockey for Lockport High School.

Sansone is the first female player selected for the Hall of Fame. She excelled at hockey throughout her life including the four seasons she spent at Providence College. There Sansone was a two-time Captain’s Award recipient, named Hockey East Player of the Week, Hockey East Top Performer, and received the All-American Scholar award.

The Honorable Judge William “Bill” Watson accepted the award on Sansone’s behalf because of a prior work commitment she had.

Sabres Sign Player to Entry-Level Deal

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SABRES AGREE TO ENTRY-LEVEL DEAL WITH RUOTSALAINEN


BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres announced the team has signed forward ArttuRuotsalainen to a three-year, entry-level contract.

In his second full Liiga season in 2018-19, Ruotsalainen (5’8”, 179 lbs., 10/29/1997) led Ilves and ranked ninth in the league with 21 goals, adding 21 assists to total a team-high 42 points. He led all Liiga forwards in average ice time (21:05) and faceoffs (1,216) in his 59 regular-season games, posting a faceoff percentage of 54.9%. In seven playoff games in 2019, Ruotsalainen recorded seven points (2+5) and a plus-6 rating. Through parts of four Liiga seasons, he has totaled 73 points (36+37) in 204 regular-season games.

A native of Oulu, Finland, Ruotsalainen won a silver medal with Team Finland at the 2015 IIHF World U18 Championship and represented his country at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship. He made his debut with the Finnish national team during the 2018-19 season, joining the team for several games during the Euro Hockey Tour.