“An exciting time for the organization” | Talented Buffalo prospects lured Leone to Amerks head coaching opportunity

Leone’s previous experience as an assistant coach with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP) for three seasons and his most recent experience as head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League were other reasons why Karmanos felt he was the best person to help the organizations’ talented prospects grow and become Sabres.

“I think in particular his work within the program and then his work over the last couple of years in Green Bay was important to us,” Karmanos said. “He was a general manager and head coach there – with no prior experience – and did an outstanding job. When you’re given a role like that, especially a dual role like that, without years of experience under your belt, it’s an incredible challenge, and he did a wonderful job. And we think that prepares him for this job in a way that other roles maybe couldn’t.

Leone has led the Gamblers to over 30 consecutive winning seasons as well as back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in over a decade and is looking forward to embarking on a new journey with the deep pool of prospects from Buffalo. Forwards Matt Savoie, Jiri Kulich and Isak Rosen – three first-round picks – made their NHL debuts with the Sabers last season. Kulich and Rosen led Rochester in goals and points respectively, while Savoie led the Western Hockey League in points per game and is eligible to play in Rochester next season. Noah Ostlund (first round, 2022) and Anton Wahlberg (second round, 2023) both joined the Americans following the conclusion of their professional seasons in the Swedish Hockey League and made an immediate impact in Rochester, scoring goals in the Amerks playoffs.

“There’s a lot of talent, which always helps a coach, which is always nice to see,” he said. “But there are a lot of really talented young players who have obviously had a lot of success over the years, guys who are trying to make it to the NHL. It’s an exciting time for the organization and especially as a new, young head coach to be able to work with these players.

“I can’t wait to start working with them.”

The Dearborn Heights, Michigan, native will focus on implementing his relationship and development-based coaching approach by first getting to know his players off the ice to foster success on the ice .

That philosophy has helped him build strong relationships with his players over the years, including Artyom Levshunov and Julian Lutz, who came to Green Bay from Belarus and Germany, respectively. Leone believes his experience with both players will help him succeed with several of the Sabres’ international prospects as well as his familiarity with Appert, who he worked with in the national program in 2019-20.

“He’s a great person. He’s a great communicator. He really cares about individuals,” Leone said of Appert. “He has a positive growth approach. I learned a lot from him on a daily basis. I think anyone who played for Seth would understand that they love coming to the rink every day and being with him, that there There will definitely be tough times throughout the season, but Seth had a way of seeing people gravitate towards him and that was the only thing to remember about being with him, just l. the energy he brings every day to the office and to the rink and if you do If you are a player or a staff member, you really enjoyed being around this type of person and coach.

“I think when I talked to the staff members last week and the assistant coaches, the way things were going was very aligned with the way we did things in Green Bay as far as the goals of development of how we practice, how training goes I worked with Seth for a year in the same building and I talked to him a lot last week, just about certain things, and there’s a certain level. of comfort. I wanted to talk to people in Rochester right now, I almost felt like I was already working there and I’m really really excited to start.