ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Patrick Polino's path to pro hockey hasn't been easy: after scoring 11 goals during his senior season at RPI, he spent the next five months waiting and working out.

What You Need To Know

  • Patrick Polino joined the Amerks for his first practice since signing with the team this week
  • Polino played at RPI for four years before signing with the ECHL's Greenville Swamp Rabbits over the summer
  • Polino was released in December and spent two months as a free agent before joining the Amerks


"At times, it's hard. You're just working out and skating over and over," he said after Thursday's practice, his first with the Amerks. "That's the routine, it may get old after a while. I thought I did a good job of sticking to it, and waiting for that phone call."

The North Buffalo native finally signed with the ECHL's Greenville Swamp Rabbits over the summer, but they released him in December. Polino wasn't sure he'd find another landing spot (let alone one in a higher league) far closer to home.

"There's always doubts at some point. But it's a crazy year," he said. "There's guys signing all the time. I just tried to keep my focus and stay ready, because you never know what's going to happen. I wasn't expecting the phone call, but I'm extremely honored and happy to be here."

Polino says the Amerks offer came along within the past week or so. It probably helps that the Amerks head coach, Seth Appert, has known Polino for almost 10 years, and recruited him to RPI when he was the Engineers coach.

"He said it's a great opportunity for me to be myself, play my game," said Polino. "I'm just going to try and help out any way I can." 

The Amerks begin their season Friday when they host Utica.