Brian Gionta (Rochester, N.Y.) capped off a storied career that most hockey players can only dream of in 2018. An exceptional skater at every level, Gionta, who was drafted 82nd overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 1998 NHL Draft, enjoyed 16 seasons in the National Hockey League. During his time at the game’s highest level, he captured the Stanley Cup as a member of the Devils in 2003, served as captain of both the Montreal Canadiens and his hometown team, the Buffalo Sabres, and in 2017 became just the 43rd American to skate in over 1,000 NHL games.
Amassing 595 points, including 291 goals and 304 assists in 1,026 regular-season contests from 2001 to 2018, Gionta ranks 43rd among American-born skaters all-time in points. A testament to his offensive prowess, Gionta hit double-digit goal totals in 13 of his 17 seasons and maintains the New Jersey Devils record for most goals in a single season to this day after tallying 48 times during the 2005-06 campaign.
On the international stage, Gionta represented Team USA on nine different occasions, including both the 2006 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Team captain in the latter year, Gionta led Team USA in goal-scoring with four tallies in six contests during the 2006 tournament. In addition, Gionta skated in the 1996 Pacific Cup as a member of the U.S. Men’s Under-18 Select Team, both the 1998 and 1999 IIHF World Junior Championships, three IIHF Men’s World Championships (2000, 2001, 2005) and the 2017 Deutschland Cup. In 54 international appearances, Gionta amassed 38 points, including 24 goals and 14 assists.
A four-year standout at Boston College (1997-2001), Gionta kickstarted his collegiate career with a 62-point scoring effort in 40 games, earning Hockey East’s Rookie of the Year award and a place on the Hockey East All-Rookie Team during the 1997-98 season. In each of his final three seasons, Gionta led the Eagles in goal-scoring, ranked among the top two in points, and was named a Hockey East First Team All-Star, an NCAA First Team All-American and Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist. Gionta rounded out his collegiate career with an NCAA national championship in 2001, captaining Boston College to its second national title in program history and first since 1949. The all-time leading goal scorer in program history, Gionta, who helped the Eagles to four straight Frozen Four appearances, finished his BC career with 232 points, including 123 goals and 109 assists in 164 games played.