Gionta takes the ice with Amerks, preps for international play

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – For the first time in a long time, Brian Gionta was literally back on home ice, skating inside of Blue Cross Arena with the Rochester Americans on Tuesday.

“It’s the building you grew up coming to as a kid. To be a part of these guys – these guys have been great,” the former Sabres captain told reporters following his first practice with the team.

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In what both Gionta and Amerks GM Randy Sexton call a “win-win situation,” the 38-year-old is working out and practicing with his hometown club as he prepares for international competition.  He says his first overseas trip is in November.

Gionta has played more than 1,000 career games in his career — a milestone he eclipsed in his final season with the Blue and Gold.  He’s a Stanley Cup champion and his play helped teams advance deep into the postseason. He knows what it takes to lead and to win but admits he doesn’t want to be a distraction to the Amerks, who are 2-0 to start the season.

“They’ve accepted me well today,” he added.  “They talked to the leadership group to make sure everything would be good and I think the guys in the room have been great so far.”

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