By Mark Simon
Special to NHL.com
November 6, 2003
Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies left wing Sam Paolini has established himself as one of the top young players in the ECHL in just two weeks.
Give him a little time and he’ll show why he’s one of the best off the ice as well.
The 23-year-old Paolini was named the ECHL’s Rookie of the Month for October, netting five goals and 12 points in his first eight games for the 7-1-0 defending Kelly Cup champions. Paolini graduated from Cornell, a 2003 Frozen Four participant with a degree in applied economic management. He is one of many from the ECAC that have flocked to play for Atlantic City head coach Mike Haviland.
“They have a great recruiting system here and a great reputation,” said the 6-foot-1, 210 pound Paolini, a Rochester N.Y. native, who turned down a two-way AHL/UHL deal with his hometown Rochester Americans in the AHL for what he felt was a better opportunity. “Whoever you ask has nothing but good things to say. You want a coach like (Haviland) who will go to bat for you.”
Paolini established a reputation at Cornell for being a good two-way player, and power-play specialist, and has done so with the Bullies as well. He also proved himself to be someone always willing to lend a helping hand.
Paolini is quite modest about his off-ice work, but it has been a big part of who he is. In his senior year, he won the nationally recognized College Hockey Humanitarian Award for his community involvement. Paolini started a pair of programs at Cornell — The Special Population Skate and the Power Play for Prevention.
The Skate was a weekly activity in which Cornell players would spend an hour at a rink, skating with physically handicapped and mentally challenged children. If a kid couldn’t skate, Paolini pushed him or her around the ice in a chair. Power Play for Prevention raised $16,000 last year for the Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance. Businesses and individuals donated money based on the number of goals that Cornell scored.