By Steve Sembrat
The Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE TWP., Pa. – Mike Sgroi holds no illusions as to what his role is with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Sgroi, who is 6-5 and 235 pounds, was called up from Wheeling of the ECHL by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday and signed to a 25-game American Hockey League contract. Two minutes, 19 seconds into his first game with the Penguins, he fought a spirited heavyweight battle with Bridgeport’s Graham Belak, who played in the ECHL with Trenton (2001-02 and 2002-03) and Cincinnati (2002-03).
“I love my job,” said Sgroi, 26. “I absolutely love to fight in a controlled environment. Off the ice I’m a teddy bear unless you are extremely rude.
“I enjoy breaking my back for my teammates and for the organization I am with. It is something I’m very prideful of. I hold my head up high because I sacrifice for people and teammates who give me a chance to be part of organizations, like this one here. It doesn’t get much better than this.”
Sgroi, whose name is Sicilian, takes the art of fighting extremely seriously. He has studied martial arts, and during the offseason has taken part in tough-man competitions. After a memorable match, he’ll add a tattoo to the collection of designs that extend down his right arm.