Brian Gionta accomplished a lot in his hockey career: Two trips to the Olympics, becoming the team captain for the Sabres and Canadiens and logging more than 1,000 games at the highest level.
”I went into it hoping I could play one NHL game. From there, it was play as long as you could. As long as you were having fun and enjoying the game, and your body could hold up. I would've never thought it would last as long as it did,” Gionta said.
He might be retiring, but he's not giving up hockey. The former Sabre and native of Greece, outside Rochester, said he’s taking a small role with the organization and helping out younger skaters.
”I still wanted to be a part of the game and the organization,” he said. “It's at a level that's great for my family and I can still feel like I'm helping out a little bit.
He also knows plenty about the Sabres prospects as he skated alongside them last year while staying in shape for the Olympics.
Gionta finishes his NHL career with 53 game-winning goals, something only 14 American-born players can top.
Gionta's career highlights include winning the Staney Cup in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils. In 2010 Gionta was named captain of the Montreal Canadians, being only the second American to be the captain of the historic franchise. He left Montreal in 2014 to return to Western New York, where he joined the Buffalo Sabres.
Over his career, Gionta played more than 1,000 games and scored just under 300 goals.