BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Brian Gionta, the Rochester native who captained the Sabres for three of his 16 NHL seasons, has joined the Niagara University men’s hockey coaching staff as director of player development.

“Brian’s commitment to developing players and helping them reach their full potential is his priority,” Purple Eagles coach Jason Lammers said in a news release announcing Gionta’s hire. “Brian’s strong leadership skills and passion for the game are uncommon and will bring a new level of development for our student-athletes both on and off the ice to the program.”

Gionta, 43, is a two-time Olympian who was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2020. A three-time Hobey Baker finalist at Boston College, Gionta won an NCAA championship in 2001. He played in 1,026 NHL games, recording 595 points (291 goals, 304 assists), and won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003.

“I am excited to join a great staff led by Jason Lammers and pass on my experiences and aid the development of current and future Purple Eagles,” said Gionta, who assisted at the Sabres Development Camp in 2018, following his retirement from the NHL and Team USA captaincy at the PyeongChang Olympics.

The Purple Eagles are 11-7-2 this season with a 5-5-2 record in the Atlantic Hockey Association going into this weekend’s series with Bentley at Dwyer Arena.

Niagara’s Chad Veltri is one of six Atlantic Hockey goaltenders nominated for the Richter Award. Veltri has a 2.63 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 17 games, with six shutouts.

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Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.