Getting to Know Montreal Canadiens’ Brian Gionta

Bruce Fedyck – USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens captain, Brian Gionta, learned how to skate when his mother decided to teach all three of her boys, Brian, Stephen and Joe, one winter.

Gionta played hockey in high school for the Aquinas Institute then went on to play for Boston College (1997-2001) helping them win a National Championship in his senior season while leading the nation in goal scoring with 33 goals.

Despite his modest size at 5′ 7″ and 173 pounds (he is the second shortest player in the NHL only behind Buffalo SabresNathan Gerbe by a mere two inches at 5′ 5″).  He is often described as a “tenacious” player, which more than makes up for anything he lacks in size.

In the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, the New Jersey Devils drafted Gionta in the third round (82nd overall).  He began playing for New Jersey in 2001-02 splitting his first season between the AHL and NHL roster and ultimately playing in the NHL from then on and helped the Devils win a Stanley Cup in the 2002-03 season.  He then signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Canadiens in July 2009 and was later named Montreal’s captain on September 29, 2010.  So far in his NHL career, Gionta earned his 200th goal, 400th point, 200th assist and played in his 600th game.

Gionta is an American-born player who grew up in Greece (a suburb of Rochester), NY.  His dad owns a hardware store where Brian still works in the off-season while his mom worked as a dental hygienist.  His parents still live in Rochester.  Both of Brian’s brothers are / have been involved with hockey.  Stephen played college hockey for Boston College before going on to sign an amateur tryout contract for the New Jersey Devils AHL affiliate in 2006 (and continues to play in the NJ system).  His brother Joe only played in high school at the Aquina Institute graduating in 1994.

Brian’s middle name is Joseph (as is his son’s); is nicknamed “Gio” by his teammates and “the Rochester Rocket” by the media. He admits to eating chicken, pasta and vanilla ice cream on game days.  Brian is married to his wife, Harvest. The couple met in high school when he was a freshman and she was a senior.  The couple have two children; a son, Adam Joseph and a daughter, Leah.

Stephanie Lewark is a Pittsburgh Penguins / NHL Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her Facebook page, or add her to your Google+ circle

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