NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – Former Niagara associate head coach Jerry Forton has been named an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League, the club announced on Wednesday morning.
“We were very fortunate to have Jerry for as long as we did here at Niagara hockey,” head coach Dave Burkholder said. “A tireless worker and outstanding recruiter he left his mark on our program to say the least. From volunteer to associate head coach he was a valued and integral part of the program.”
Forton served two seasons as an assistant coach at Harvard University and UMass-Lowell, following 13 years on the Niagara staff. While with the Purple Eagles, Forton worked with both forwards and defensemen, oversaw recruiting efforts, scouted opponents and assists with game strategy. He recruited seven Purple Eagles who signed National Hockey League free-agent contracts.
During his tenure at Monteagle Ridge, Forton helped transform the Purps from a first-year varsity program in 1996-97 to an NCAA Division I tournament team in 2000, ’04 and ’08. Niagara’s 1999-00 team wrapped up the season with a 30-8-1 record and reached the NCAA semifinals. NU pocketed four conference regular-season championships and four tournament titles in Forton’s time at Niagara.
“We are so happy for Jerry and his family,” added Burkholder. “I know everyone associated with Niagara Hockey, past and present wish him well with the Buffalo Sabres.”
Niagara currently has 10 alumni coaching at the collegiate or professional level, including Juliano Pagliero (’09) who was recently hired as an assistant men’s hockey coach for fellow Atlantic Hockey Association member Holy Cross.