BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Five former Buffalo Jr. Sabres took the first step in following the footsteps of some of their coaches this week. Former Sabres Pat Kaleta, Tim Kennedy, Matt Ellis, and Brian Gionta are among the coaching staff.
"The knowledge we have as a group, and the knowledge we have for our kids to go whatever path they want to, we're open to that," Kaleta said. "We're all for kids following their dreams and accomplishing what they want to do in life. and our job is to push them."
The selections were Luke Tuch (47th- MTL), Trevor Kuntar (89th- BOS), Colby Ambrosio (118th- COL), Matteo Costantini (131st- BUF), and Declan McDonnell (217th- TB). But their coaches speak from experience when they say getting selected is just the beginning.
"The message I portray to those guys is to enjoy the moment," Kaleta said. "But all this means is that an organization is giving you an opportunity. So it's what you do with that opportunity. You have a couple years to put on your work boots and you're working towards a contract."
The five selections in a single year marks a new high for the Jr. Sabres organization. While it might be a tough bar to hit year in and year out, the trickle-down reaches all the way to the 9U level.
"Having those five guys in the moment now, getting drafted, that does wonders for the rest of the organization and younger kids," Kaleta said. "Kids that they've seen play in HarborCenter last year are getting drafted into the NHL. That does wonders for our organization."