2010-08-18 / Sports

Leggio signs on with Sabres

Williamsville native, St. Joe’s product likely headed to American Hockey League
by MIKE MIGLIORE Reporter

David Leggio David Leggio David Leggio has played hockey literally all over the world. After graduating from Clarkson University in 2008, where he stared as a goaltender for the Golden Knights, Leggio made the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators before moving on to the Florida Everblades of the East Coast Hockey League and then back to the AHL with the Albany River Rats.

In 2009, Leggio’s hockey career took him overseas to Finland, where he joined TPS, a member of Finland’s top league, SM-Liiga.

Now, Leggio’s hockey journey is bringing him back to where it all began: his hometown.

On Sunday, Aug. 8, the 26-year-old Leggio signed a one-year, two way contract with the Buffalo Sabres organization. Leggio will likely be assigned to the Sabres minor league affiliate in the American Hockey League, the Portland Pirates.

The Williamsville native and St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute graduate will be the likely back-up to Pirates starter Jhonas Enroth this season. Leggio has spent the summer training in Buffalo with a strength and conditioning coach to get ready for camp. He’s now excited to show he belongs at the pro level.

David Leggio, a Williamsville native and St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute graduate, signed a one-year, two way contract with the Buffalo Sabres on Aug. 8. Leggio, who played for the championship team in the top Finnish league last season, will likely be assigned to Portland, Buffalo’s American Hockey League affiliate, for the 2010-11 season. David Leggio, a Williamsville native and St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute graduate, signed a one-year, two way contract with the Buffalo Sabres on Aug. 8. Leggio, who played for the championship team in the top Finnish league last season, will likely be assigned to Portland, Buffalo’s American Hockey League affiliate, for the 2010-11 season. “I want to have a good camp and try to get better every day,” Leggio said. “I hope to push for playing time and gets some wins and help the team move forward.”

Leggio’s hockey career began back in high school when played for head coach Pete Schneider at St. Joe’s. Schneider coached Leggio during his junior and senior years from 2000 to 2002. Schneider called Leggio one of the hardest working athletes he had at St. Joe’s and stressed the word “athlete.”

“He’s as athletic as anyone I’ve met,” Schneider said. “He’s an outstanding athlete. He’s just one of those guys who knew what he wanted and worked hard to get it.”

Schneider said Leggio’s best strengths as a goaltender are his reflexes, which he called “cat-like”, as well as his ability to control the puck and pass it from his own end. In fact, Schneider said his coaching staff used to design plays for Leggio where the would hit a skater at the far blue line after collecting the puck on a dump-in.

After graduating from St. Joe’s, Leggio moved on to Clarkson University where he put up a 59-29-12 record over four years with a .922 save percentage and 2.30 goals against average. He helped lead the Golden Knights to back-to-back Eastern College Athletic Conference championships in 2007 and 2008. In 2007, Leggio was named team MVP, ECAC Goaltender of the Year and was on the ECAC’s First All-Star team.

Following a couple of years in the AHL and ECHL, Leggio took his talents overseas to Finland’s top league, the SM-Liiga, and played for TPS. Leggio helped lead TPS to the league title this past season. For Leggio, Finland was a chance to show he could play in at a top-flight level.

“I wanted a chance to prove myself,” Leggio said. “It was a great experience to play there and see a totally different culture.”

Leggio fell in love with hockey while watching games with his father as a kid. He has memories of playing floor hockey in the basement of his grandfather’s house in Blasdell, as well as sitting in the oranges at the Memorial Auditorium for Sabres games. Leggio, who called himself the “biggest Sabres fan,” said signing with his hometown team makes his story that much sweeter.

“It kind of plays into the mystique of the whole thing being able to sign with the team I grew up watching,” he said.

Leggio will report to Sabres training camp, which begins on Sept. 18, but his likely destination is Portland. The Pirates lost number two goaltender JP Lamoureux to the Abbotsford Heat, the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames, earlier this offseason. Leggio will likely assume the role vacated by Lamoureux.

Once he gets to camp, Leggio will look to continue his impressive hockey career and continue to make his former coach proud.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Schneider said. “He’s one of those guys that proves that hard work can help you reach a goal like being in the NHL.”

e-mail: mmigliore@beenews.com

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