Tuesday, September 25, 2018

BC's Gionta Retires as NHL Player

Brian Gionta (Boston College) has called it a career after 16 NHL campaigns.

A third-round draft choice of the New Jersey Devils in 1998, Gionta, 39, won a Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2003, and three years later set a still-standing franchise record with a career-high 48 regular-season goals to go along with a personal-best 89 points. The Rochester, N.Y. native went on to serve as captain of both the Montreal Canadiens and the Buffalo Sabres before finishing his career last spring with the Boston Bruins.

In 1,026 NHL regular-season games, Gionta collected 291 goals and 304 assists for 595 points along with 377 penalty minutes, and scored at least 20 goals in one NHL season seven times. In 113 Stanley Cup Playoff contests, he registered 32-36—68 points with 34 PIM. He also recorded 15-23—38 points and 28 PIM in 53 career American Hockey League games with Albany and Rochester.

A four-time All-America selection and a three-time finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top player in NCAA Division I men’s hockey, Gionta skated for BC from 1997 to 2001, and is the school’s all-time leading goal scorer with 123 goals. He finished his collegiate career with 232 points in 164 games, which still ranks him second on the Heights’ all-time scoring scroll behind David Emma (239 points).

Gionta also helped the Eagles to four NCAA Frozen Fours, including the 2001 NCAA title, its first national championship in 52 years. He is also BC's all-time leader with nine career hat tricks. As a senior, he scored five goals on five shots in the opening period of a 7-2 win against Hockey East rival Maine, and then helped BC to its third Hockey East Tournament championship in four seasons, plus the 2001 Beanpot Tournament crown. He was also named the 2000-01 Hockey East Player of the Year, and shared the Walter Brown Award that same season with UNH goaltender Ty Conklin as the top American-born player(s) in the New England collegiate hockey ranks.

Gionta represented the United States in two Olympic Winter Games, in 2006 in Italy and in 2018 in South Korea. He served as Team USA's captain in the latter competition, and also played for the U.S. in two IIHF World Junior Championships and three IIHF World Championships. He will now serve as a development coach with the NHL’s Sabres.

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