Jake McCabe is a proud alumnus of Wisconsin’s hockey program. So when the university announced it was hiring Tony Granato, the Buffalo Sabres defenseman got excited.
“I actually watched their press conference online the other day,” said McCabe who played at Wisconsin from 2011-14. “You kind of feel their passion and their excitement around the whole program. You know if I was a 15, 16, 17-year old I don’t know how I’d ever turn down a coaching staff like that with pro experience those guys have. It’s exciting and I’m proud to be an alum.”
Granato played at Wisconsin and went on to become an Olympian with Team USA and 852 games in the NHL. Granato replaces Mike Eaves who coached the Badgers for 14 years, including winning an NCAA title in 2006, but ended with consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1995-97.
McCabe is one of eight on the Sabres current roster to make their way from college hockey to the NHL.
“It just goes to show that junior is not the only way to develop as an NHL player,” McCabe said. “Each player is different. Some guys need more time to develop physically and college is I think a great route to do that, obviously with game schedule and practice schedule quite different from juniors. You’ve got more time to spend in the gym and just mature. I would recommend college to anyone but it’s not for everyone either.”