Monday, March 28, 2011

Eastern Conference Eye Candy: Nathan Gerbe (Buffalo Sabres)

Nathan Gerbe's hockey story is somewhat similar to that of  Jonathan Eberle (previous WCH) - his start, size, and even his hockey "idol" and role models will all seem quite familiar as you read on. 

Nathan began skating at the age of three on a frozen pond in his back yard and started his "career" a few years later (around the age of six or seven) playing with his first organized team, HoneyBaked (in Michigan).

After playing HoneyBaked for about six years, he had a short stint in junior hockey playing for the Omaha River City Lancers (West Division of the USHL) in 2002-2003 until he moved on to play for the US National (Under 18) team in Ann Arbor with whom he continued to play for through the 2004-2005 season.

Nathan's international play consists of both the U18 and U20 US teams.  He played well at the Five Nations Tournament and was the team's second leading scorer at the 2005 IIHF U18 World Championship.  He was also part of the bronze-medal winning US National U20 team.

Gerbe was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft in the 5th round (142nd overall).  At that time he decided to play for Boston College for three seasons (2005-2006 - 2007-2008) where he had quite a successful hockey career earning himself numerous honors (named to Hockey East Second All-Star Team in 2007; the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team in 2007, 2008; Hockey East First All-Star Team, NCAA East First All-American Team, NCAA Championship Tournament MVP, and one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award all in 2008).  One of his biggest accomplishment was being part of the NCAA Championship in his final season there (2007-2008) although, personally, Gerbe says getting into Boston College to be able to play Division I hockey is his greatest accomplishment.

He began his professional career after college playing for Buffalo's AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates (2008-2009, 2009-2010) scoring his first professional goal on 10/11/2008.  Prior to having a permanent spot on their NHL roster this season, Gerbe spent parts of 2009-2010 between the Sabres and Pirates.  While playing with the Pirates, he recorded his first professional hat trick and was awarded the Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award for rookie of the year for the 2008–09 season.

Nathan is a talented hockey player despite being smaller (5'5, 178 pounds) and models his hockey-playing style after Martin St. Louis as well as Danny Brière.  Although his size may be viewed as an "issue," he definitely makes up for it with his incredible speed and aggressiveness making him "a well-rounded offensive player" according to Hockey's Future webpage.  One of his coaches is credited with giving the best advice Gerbe has ever received and something he lives by even now:

The best advice is to never quit. I'm a small player (5'5"), so size is a huge factor for me. Many people said I couldn't make it because I'm too small, but a lot of people said I could do it. Never quitting is great advice.
He signed his first professional contract with the Buffalo Sabres on May 6, 2008 (three years, $2.55 million).  As a Sabre, Nathan scored his first career NHL goal on 12/09/2009 against the Washington Capitals and recorded his first career NHL playoff point (an assist) in his first NHL career playoff game on 04/26/2010 against Boston.

Nathan (or "Nate" as he's called by many of his family and friends) is the youngest of six kids born to Joe and Terrie Gerbe.  He grew up in Oxford, MI where he graduated from Huron High School.

Nathan credits his parents with being influential role models:
... They've done everything for me and my five siblings. It's always great to watch them and great to watch how they carry themselves. It carries through the family when you get to watch your parents be role models.
He graduated with a degree in communication from Boston College where he was active in some charity work for the college as well as with the BC hockey team (visiting patients at the Franciscan Hospital for Children, participating in community service events held at the YMCA in Brighton, MA, and helping provide food service at local homeless shelters).
I do a lot of food kitchens for homeless shelters. I also visit area hospitals for the kids. Those are the main ones. I think it's great - a lot of people give you opportunities here at Boston College and you have to be thankful for what you've got. It's nice to be able to give back to the community and help others. A lot of people appreciate it, and it looks good for the school since that's what we're representing.
And one more TINY piece of information about Nathan Gerbe that I'm sure you'll all find just adorable ... according to Sabre Chaser, he was terrified of Santa as a young child (and there's a picture to prove it!! RIGHT)  POOR THING (there's a picture!)!!

Information found in this post obtained from the following sites:
The Official Website of the Atlantic Coast Conference
The Official Athletic Site of the Boston College Eagles
Nathan Gerbe Wikipedia


EleaStories said...

Not that being terrified is at all funny, but that picture really is hilarious.

Val said...

I always wanted to get a life-size cutout of Hal Gill and see if Nathan Gerbe would take a pic next to it, lol!

Seriously, he is an awesome hockey player, gives hope to all the "little" guys to aspire to play in the NHL, and has great character. Thanks for the eye candy, perfect for a Monday.

Stephanie said...

@EleaStories ... I thought it was funny too (it reminds me of a pic of my nephew with Santa ... they actually got him on Santa's lap and they took the picture of him like that with him crying) ... not funny at the time, but funny to look back on!! ; P

@Val ... the shorter players always look like "midgets" on the ice and it is pretty funny to see them beside a BIGGER player, but on the brighter side, Gerbe (as well as Eberle and the other shorter players) are all great role models for young players to look up to!! ; )

THANKS for the comments ... keep them coming!!! : D

Char said...

Poor kid... Or Poor santa.. depending on how you look at it.

Stephanie said...

very true, Char!! ; )

1girlarrmy said...

Huron High School is in Ann Arbor, MI. He graduated in 2005 after 2 years at Huron playing with the US National team.

Stephanie said...

I thought I covered all that (just didn't include WHEN he graduated from high school and I also mentioned that he played with U18 US team) ... and I didn't say Huron High School wasn't in Ann Arbor, but that Gerbe grew up in Oxford, MI.

Thanks for the additional information.

Stephanie :)