Brian Joseph Gionta (born January 18, 1979) is an American former professional ice hockey player who played 16 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL). Gionta began his NHL career in 2001 with the New Jersey Devils and has served as captain of the Montreal Canadiens and the Buffalo Sabres. He also was the captain for the United States in the 2018 Winter Olympics, for which he stepped away from the NHL for most of its 2017–18 season (NHL refused to release its players to the Olympics for the first time since 1994). After the Olympics, he briefly played for the Boston Bruins, and retired following their elimination from the playoffs.
Gionta with the Buffalo Sabres in April 2016
January 18, 1979|
Rochester, New York, U.S.
|Height||5 ft 7 in (170 cm)|
|Weight||178 lb (81 kg; 12 st 10 lb)|
New Jersey Devils|
|National team||United States|
82nd overall, 1998|
New Jersey Devils
- 1 Playing career
- 2 Retirement
- 3 International play
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Records
- 6 Career statistics
- 7 Awards and honors
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Gionta was drafted 82nd overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. The diminutive but fiery forward attended high school at the Aquinas Institute in Rochester, New York, where in 1993–94 he was selected as their Rookie of the Year. He then skated for Boston College from 1997 to 2001, winning a national championship as Eagles captain in the 2000–01 season. He was mentored by former NHL forward Marty Reasoner, also a Rochester native, and enjoyed his best statistical season in his freshman year on a line with Reasoner, posting 30 goals and 62 points in 40 games as the Eagles fell to the University of Michigan in the national championship game in Boston.
Gionta followed up with a 60-point season his sophomore year as Boston College was eliminated by their Hockey East rival, the University of Maine, in the Frozen Four semi-finals. In his junior year, he posted a 33-goal, 56-point season as the Eagles fell to the University of North Dakota in that year's national championship game.
In his senior season as captain, Gionta's point total dipped again to 54 points. Nevertheless, a roster stocked with future NHL talent produced a national championship as Boston College defeated North Dakota 3–2 in overtime in Albany, New York. During his senior season, he led the nation in goal-scoring with 33 goals, including a performance against the University of Maine in which he scored on each of his first five shots.
New Jersey DevilsEdit
Gionta, who joined the New Jersey Devils during the 2001–02 season, was a member of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals-winning team that prevailed over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, he played for the Devils' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Albany River Rats. In 2006, he was a member of the 2006 United States' men's team that competed in Turin, Italy.
Largely serving on the right wing of the Devils' prolific "EGG" line – which included Patrik Eliáš and Scott Gomez – Gionta was one of the Devils' most effective offensive players during his tenure in New Jersey. On March 28, 2006, Gionta became the first Devils player to score 40 goals in a season since Eliáš and Alexander Mogilny each reached the mark in the 2000–01 season.
In the last game of the 2005–06 season, Gionta broke Pat Verbeek's franchise record for goals in a season, finishing with 48. In that season, he also finished with his highest point total to date, with 89 in all 82 games of the regular season. On October 27, 2007, Gionta scored the first Devils' goal in the history of the Prudential Center in the second period of a 4–1 loss to Ottawa. (Chris Neil scored the first ever).
Gionta played 473 regular season games in total for New Jersey, in addition to 67 Stanley Cup Playoff games. As of 2011[update], Gionta holds the franchise all-time power play goal-scoring record in one season, with 24.
During the 2012–13 season, Gionta played in all 48 games of the lockout-shortened season and registered 14 goals and 12 assists while leading the Canadiens on a remarkable comeback from last in the Eastern Conference to their 23rd Northeast Division title. On March 5, 2013, Gionta scored the 20,000th NHL goal in the history of the Canadiens in a game against the New York Rangers.[note 1] Entering the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs as the second seed against the Ottawa Senators, Gionta tore his bicep in Game 1 and was forced to undergo season-ending surgery to repair it.
On July 1, 2014, Gionta signed a three-year free-agent deal with hometown team, the Buffalo Sabres, for $4.25 million per year. On October 7, 2014, Gionta was named captain of the Sabres. Gionta played in his 1,000th NHL game on March 27, 2017 against the Florida Panthers in Buffalo.
The Sabres opted not to re-sign Gionta in the 2017 offseason after reacquiring Jason Pominville in a trade. The Sabres' owned-and-operated American Hockey League club, the Rochester Americans, signed Gionta to their practice squad on October 9, 2017. Since the practice-only contract is not with the NHL, Gionta was able to participate in the Winter Olympics, following the NHL's announcement not to accommodate an Olympic break due to financial disputes with the IOC. Gionta was officially named to Team USA's pre-Olympic roster on October 18, 2017. Gionta has since been named USA team captain. Gionta admitted turning down NHL offers to participate in the Olympics and intends to re-sign with the league after the Olympics end.
On January 29, 2018, the Americans upgraded Gionta's practice-squad contract to a one-game professional tryout contract, allowing him to play the Americans February 2, 2018 game against the Toronto Marlies before leaving for the Olympics. Gionta scored a goal in the game but the Americans lost 4-2.
Gionta is the middle child of Sam and Penny Gionta. He and his wife, Harvest, have three children. Gionta has a brother, Stephen, who plays for the New York Islanders. He also has an older brother Joe, who also played for the Aquinas Institute Hockey Team and graduated in 1994. Brian Gionta has a home in the Rochester, New York area where his parents still reside.
- New Jersey Devils record for most goals in a season (48 in 2005–06)
Regular season and playoffsEdit
|1994–95||Rochester Jr. Americans||EmJHL||28||52||37||89||—||—||—||—||—|
|1997–98||Boston College Eagles||HE||40||30||32||62||44||—||—||—||—||—|
|1998–99||Boston College Eagles||HE||39||27||33||60||46||—||—||—||—||—|
|1999–2000||Boston College Eagles||HE||42||33||23||56||66||—||—||—||—||—|
|2000–01||Boston College Eagles||HE||43||33||21||54||47||—||—||—||—||—|
|2001–02||Albany River Rats||AHL||37||9||16||25||18||—||—||—||—||—|
|2001–02||New Jersey Devils||NHL||33||4||7||11||8||6||2||2||4||0|
|2002–03||New Jersey Devils||NHL||58||12||13||25||23||24||1||8||9||6|
|2003–04||New Jersey Devils||NHL||75||21||8||29||36||5||2||3||5||0|
|2004–05||Albany River Rats||AHL||15||5||7||12||10||—||—||—||—||—|
|2005–06||New Jersey Devils||NHL||82||48||41||89||46||9||3||4||7||2|
|2006–07||New Jersey Devils||NHL||62||25||20||45||36||11||8||1||9||4|
|2007–08||New Jersey Devils||NHL||82||22||31||53||46||5||1||0||1||2|
|2008–09||New Jersey Devils||NHL||81||20||40||60||32||7||2||3||5||4|
Awards and honorsEdit
|All-Hockey East Rookie Team||1997–98|
|Hockey East Rookie of the Year||1997–98|
|All-Hockey East Second Team||1997–98|
|AHCA East Second-Team All-American||1997–98|
|All-Hockey East First Team||1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01|
|AHCA East First-Team All-American||1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01|
|World Junior Championships All-Star Team||1999 |
|Hockey East Player of the Year||2000–01|
- "Pee-Wee players who have reached NHL or WHA" (PDF). Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
- "Canadiens ink Gionta to five-year deal". The Sports Network. July 1, 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
- "Brian Gionta player profile". Montreal Canadiens. June 1, 2013. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
- "2012-13 NHL Standings". National Hockey League. May 1, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "Brian Gionta to undergo surgery". habseyesontheprize.com. May 8, 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
- "Gionta glad to be with hometown Buffalo Sabres". National Hockey League. July 1, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- GIONTA NAMED SABRES CAPTAIN
- "Brian Gionta's 1,000-game milestone one for the underdog". Democrat and Chronicle. March 27, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
- "Bruins Sign Brian Gionta To One-Year Contract". NHL.com. February 25, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
- "Brian Gionta announces retirement after 16 NHL seasons". Sportsnet.ca. September 24, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
- Filipowski, Nick (October 9, 2017). "Gionta to skate with Amerks, prepare for international competition". WIVB-TV. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
- Schlager, Brandon (October 18, 2017). "A peak at Pyeongchang: USA Hockey announces roster for pre-Olympic tournament". The Sporting News. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
- Hoppe, Bill (November 8, 2017). "Former Sabres captain Brian Gionta excited to represent Team USA". Olean Times Herald. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
- "Gionta becomes dad for third time". 25stanley.com (in French). May 18, 2012. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- Collins gem Hockey Facts and Stats 2009–10, p.530, Andrew Podnieks, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, Toronto, Canada, ISBN 978-1-55468-621-6
- "Isles send Habs to 1st regulation loss in month". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. March 6, 2013. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
- Biographical information and career statistics from NHL.com, or Eliteprospects.com, or Hockey-Reference.com, or The Internet Hockey Database
|Awards and achievements|
| Hockey East Rookie of the Year
| Hockey East Player of the Year
| Hockey East Scoring Champion
| Hockey East Three-Stars Award
| Montreal Canadiens captain
| Buffalo Sabres captain