Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

July 9, 2009

SABRES: Foligno making a name for himself

LEWISTON — Talk about old times.

During Tuesday’s session of Sabres development camp at Niagara University’s Dwyer Arena, a No. 17 jersey with the name Foligno pasted on the back fired a pair of pucks — the first high, the second along the ice — past a befuddled goalie.

If Marcus Foligno can fill the net like that, like his well-known father was known to do, chances are he’ll be in Buffalo sooner than many are predicting.

Truth be told, Foligno is not yet known for lighting the lamp like dad was. When Mike Foligno played for the Sudbury Wolves in the 1970s, he scored 22 goals in his rookie season and 31 the next year. In his final season of major juniors, the elder Foligno led the Ontario Hockey Association in points, edging out Tom McCarthy, Jody Gage, Paul Coffey and teammate Dale Hunter for the league’s top tally.

In two seasons with the same Wolves, Marcus has just 17 goals in 131 games.

Still, between the lineage and size — with his 18th birthday still over a month away, Marcus stands 6-foot-2 and weighs in at 200 pounds — it’s easy to see why the Sabres took a shot at Foligno, who could develop into a powerful force in the future.

“I like to bet on character. I like to bet on genes,” Kevin Devine, the team’s director of the scouting, said earlier this month. “Everything just pointed to him. And then the fact that the name is Foligno was a bonus.”

For now, though, Marcus is simply happy to be learning at the Sabres development camp, making a name for himself in the organization that helped his dad do the same.

“When I first heard my name, the first thing I did was hug all of my family,” the younger Foligno said. “Then I started thinking to myself, wow, to go somewhere I’m so familiar, that’s great. I think my dad was even more excited than I was.”

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