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After getting picked by Stars, Sabres fan Cecconi enjoys meeting with Ruff

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Youngstown native Joe Cecconi was barely listening midway through the fifth round here Saturday, then he heard his name called from the stage and was suddenly shaking hands with Lindy Ruff.

Cecconi, a defenseman who played for Muskegeon in the USHL and is headed to the University of Michigan, had the meeting after he was selected by Ruff's Dallas Stars with the 133rd overall pick.

Cecconi was the lone Western New York player at the All-America Prospects Game last September in First Niagara Center and thought there was a chance he could go in round five. But Dallas was not a team he had spoken to.

"Truthfully, I was a little bit scared," Cecconi said. "Heading into the fifth round I was thinking something might happen and I might not get chosen. As soon as Dallas was up and they called my name, I was like, 'The dream has
started.'"

Cecconi said he grew up as a huge fan of the Sabres' back-to-back Eastern Conference champions in 2006-07 and particularly liked Brian Campbell. He said the quick meeting with Ruff today was a huge moment.

"That was awesome," he said. "Growing up watching him coach the Sabres, it's pretty cool. The Sabres went kind of far in some playoff years and fell short but those were fun teams to watch."

Even though he was only 2 at the time, Cecconi was reminded the Stars have a dubious place in Buffalo sports history from the way the 1999 Stanley Cup final ended.

"Now that you say that, I might get some dirty looks back home if I wear this hat around," he said of his green Stars cap. "It should be interesting."

Cecconi, of course, remains a Sabres fan and is intrigued as anyone else by all they've done here this weekend.

"It's been overwhleming to see," he said. "They've done a lot of things. I can't wait to watch them next year. It's obviously the team I watched growing up. It should be interested to see how they do -- and now how the Stars do."

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