It's a game he's been looking forward to all season — his first trip back to Western New York as an NHL player suiting up for a game in KeyBank Center.
But when Alex Iafallo, the rookie for the L.A. Kings from Eden, faces the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday two notable people will be missing from the stands — his parents. But he understands. His sister, Julianna, is a senior at Ohio State and his parents decided to head to Columbus, Ohio for her senior weekend.
"They had a tough decision, a tough one," Iafallo told the L.A. Kings Insider Friday after the team practiced in KeyBank center. "I'd rather have them be with my sister. It's her senior weekend."
Iafallo will still have a large group of family and friends at KeyBank Center when the Kings play the Buffalo Sabres at 1 p.m.
The 24-year-old forward is in his rookie NHL season after a four-year standout career at Minnesota-Duluth where he scored 48 games with 121 points for the Bulldogs. Signed as a free agent by the Kings after the Bulldogs lost in the Frozen Four championship game to Denver, Iafallo made the L.A. roster out of training camp. In 55 games this season he has six goals and 13 assists while averaging 15:48 of ice time.
“I’m just trying to go with things, you know, making sure that I’m always staying positive and making sure that I’m not being negative,” Iafallo said in the piece. “Obviously I worked hard for this and I have to keep working hard and keep learning obviously.”
And while he's focused on the task at hand, there's something extra special about Saturday's game in Buffalo.
“I always had it circled. I’ve always wanted to play in my hometown and play in front of my friends and family,” Iafallo said. “It’s definitely an honor and I have to keep doing my job to stay up and keep producing.”
Alex Iafallo looking forward to first NHL game in Buffalo, his home area https://t.co/LbikI2V2iC
— Josh Cooper (@JoshuaCooper) February 16, 2018