TORONTO– Seven more cuts need to be made before Team USA is ready to host the 2011 World Junior Championship, but Toronto Marlies forward Jerry D’Amigo shouldn’t have anything to worry about. He is one of eight returning players for the Americans who have the opportunity to defend the gold medal in Buffalo, NY. Before his name was officially announced on December 7th, D’Amigo smiled when asked about the championships and stated,
“It would be a great honour to play. Just to be in the whole situation again, being in Buffalo to defend the title.”
D’Amigo, from Binghamton, NY, showed Canada just who he was in the gold medal game last year by scoring a third period goal and later adding an assist to hand Canada their first silver medal in six years. Overall, he finished the tournament with 6 goals and 12 points and ranked fourth in tournament scoring behind teammate Derek Stepan and Canadians Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.
Before joining the Marlies, D’Amigo had a successful season at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (ECAC) scoring 34 points in 35 games. He was named ECAC Rookie of the Year and was selected to the All Rookie Team. Leafs General Manager Brian Burke took him sixth round (158th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and firmly believes D’Amigo is only getting better.
“Jerry D’Amigo has probably skyrocketed up the depth chart more than any other player in the last 12 months. What he’s done is unbelievable.” Burke told AM640 back in October.
No doubt the 19 year old has worked hard to get to where he is. In the off season he trained with New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise and was admiring of the opportunity.
“Zach is always a guy I want to watch and replicate my game over. It’s great to see just what he can do.”
Describing what he thinks he has most improved on, D’Amigo added,
“Working hard, getting in dirty areas and making plays.”
With his new found improvements coupled with his quick hands and great speed, D’Amigo is rounding out into a player not only Canada will check closely, but the rest of the world will too. He will miss nine Toronto Marlies games while away at the juniors but, as shown in the past, this tournament can benefit a prospect in a positive way. Parise himself represented the Americans at the Junior Championship in 2004; winning USA’s previous gold medal. Team USA is seeded in Group A and opens up the tournament against Finland on Boxing Day. Look for D’Amigo on the top line and, if he plays the way he is expected, look for Team USA to fight hard to defend their gold.