By Lindsay Kramer
Buffalo Sabres assistant coach and former ECHL coach Brian McCutcheon, Rochester head coach Randy Cunneyworth and new Amerks assistant and former South Carolina Stingrays player Jason Cipolla (pictured) have been carpooling from their homes in the Rochester area to Buffalo for the Sabres’ training camp.
That’s what Amerks past and present do. They stick together — and learn together. Cipolla played for both McCutcheon and Cunneyworth during his two seasons in Rochester.
“I’ll ask things from time to time,” Cipolla said of their discussions during the rides to and from Buffalo. “But for the most part, it’s telling fun stories and getting ready for the season.”
Cipolla, 34, has been growing the necessary roots for the job for several years.
Cipolla played for the Amerks from 1999-2001 and started spending his off-seasons in Rochester because his wife, Kristin, is from the area. After retiring as a player in 2006, he made his home there full time.
He set up a youth camp business that helped children get involved in hockey, lacrosse and the theater. He tended to his young daughter, Isabelle. But by the time that March rolled around, he felt hockey’s pull again.