Ex-Leaf Saganiuk giving back to game

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

CHICAGO -- Rocky Saganiuk is still leaving his mark on hockey.

One of the most popular Maple Leafs of the late 1970s and early '80s, Saganiuk is now a youth hockey development director in the Chicago area. Through his Rocky Hockey school and the Chicago Hawks double-A team, he has helped about 4,000 kids in the area get into the sport.

"Chicago and the surrounding area has the second biggest minor hockey enrollment after Detroit," Saganiuk said yesterday, as he watched his old team practice at the United Center. "When I was finishing up (a nine year playing and coaching career) in Scotland, (sports agent) Mike Barnett asked me about running three rinks they had going here. I'd had about 13 different homes for my family, so I said sure. That was 14 years ago.

"Since the Blackhawks have taken off the past couple of years, now the kids around here have players to identify with. My gift is to give back to the game."

A right winger, Saganiuk played for the Leafs from 1978-83, recording 118 points in 230 games, while crossing paths with both of last night's coaches, Joel Quenneville and Ron Wilson.


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