Girgensons Turns Pro, Signs with SabresJuly 13, 2012 - United States Hockey League (USHL) Dubuque Fighting Saints
"I am really happy for Zemgus," Fighting Saints Head Coach and General Manager Jim Montgomery said. "This is a challenge he's wanted. This has been his dream probably since he was 12 years old. He deserves and earned this, and I think he will be extremely successful. His skill and will have been elite since day one. That's why he was an NHL first round pick and that's why he is signing an NHL contract today."
A native of Riga, Latvia, Girgensons played two seasons in Dubuque, scoring 104 points in 100 career games, and helping the Fighting Saints to the 2011 Clark Cup Championship. Girgensons led Dubuque in scoring last season with 55 points, tallying 24 goals, 31 assists in 49 games while serving as the team captain. For his work, he was named to the 2011-12 All-USHL First Team. With his selection in June's NHL Entry Draft, Girgensons became the highest drafted Latvian player in the NHL history, and the highest drafted Fighting Saint in team history.
Since Girgensons played in the USHL previously, he is eligible to play with the Sabres' top affiliate, the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League this year. Girgensons was originally committed to the University of Vermont for the upcoming season, but instead elected to sign with Buffalo. NCAA rules dictate a player loses his eligibility upon signing a professional contract.
"I think he's ready for this. I think Zemgus is going to have tremendous success," Montgomery said. "Whatever situation he is put in the coach is going to love him and his teammates are going to love him. He is the ultimate team player that helps you win every night."
Girgensons is the first Fighting Saint to sign an NHL contract since the team returned to Dubuque in 2010. The previous Fighting Saints franchise, which called Dubuque home from 1980-2001, produced six former NHL players, with the most notable being five-time NHL All-Star Gary Suter. Brothers Chris Ferraro and Peter Ferraro, as well as Mark Mowers, Landon Wilson, and Andy Wozniewski also played in Dubuque before playing in the NHL.
United States Hockey League Stories from July 13, 2012
- Lancers Add Brian Kaufman to Coaching Staff - Omaha Lancers
- Girgensons Turns Pro, Signs with Sabres - Dubuque Fighting Saints
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