While the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game will introduce local hockey fans to a number of the top prospects from around the country, it will also be a homecoming for one defenseman.
Joseph Cecconi is the lone skater of the 42 invited to participate who hails from the Western New York region. Growing up in Youngstown, N.Y., Cecconi’s hockey career began on the travel level with a number of teams from around the area, including the Niagara University Jr. Eagles, Wheatfield Blades and Buffalo Regals.
From there, Cecconi joined the Buffalo Jr. Sabres organization for the 2012-13 season, playing 40 games with the U-16 team and four with the U-18 team. After accumulating 10 goals and nine assists in 34 games with the U-16 team the following season, Cecconi left the Jr. Sabres for the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks. (Cecconi was originally drafted by the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers in 2013, but his rights were acquired by Muskegon in a trade last December that saw highly-touted Sabres prospect Connor Hurley sent to Green Bay.)
The decision to move more than 400 miles from Youngstown to Muskegon, Mich., presented a set of challenges for Cecconi, but the competition on the ice has escalated his development.