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Hershey stocked with “Ammo”

by Jess Mikula || AHL On The Beat Archive

head-amadio_200.jpg Early this summer, Greg Amadio found himself without a team for the 2008-09 season. After stints with five different AHL teams in the past four years, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native was a free agent.

When Amadio inked a deal with Hershey on July 24, it wasn’t immediately evident what the Bears’ blue line was gaining, but the defenseman quickly made himself at home on a roster already teeming with talent. Showcasing his versatility as a player, he has since become a fan favorite.

Amadio, or “Ammo” as he is affectionately known by teammates and fans alike, describes signing with the Bears as exciting.

“I knew a lot about the team and played against them quite a bit. I knew their tradition and history. I was very excited,” he said.

Familiar with the team’s background, Amadio was also familiar with playing on the Giant Center ice and was no stranger to the visiting locker room. However, “it’s very different playing in here [Giant Center] on the home team,” he said.

“It’s intimidating when you come in here on the visiting team. It’s always sold out and just a hard place to play when you’re on the opposing team.”

With the Chocolatetown loyal behind him this season, Amadio has appeared in 48 games for the Bears, recording two goals, six assists and 154 penalty minutes.

Although his numbers may not be all that impressive, Amadio makes his presence known every time he puts on a Hershey sweater. From blocking shots to sticking up for his teammates, he is an integral part of the Bears’ roster.

“I think my role on this team is to be a stay-at-home, physical defenseman and provide energy in the dressing room and on the bench and just be a positive influence on everybody,” he said.

Amadio can be heard yelling both on the ice and from the bench, always offering encouragement to his teammates. He coined the phrase “lasagna power” to refer to working hard on the ice after a pre-game meal of lasagna. It was heard in his AHL Live Mic’d Up video earlier this year, as he congratulated rookie Oskar Osala on a goal.

Though he always provides a positive attitude, Amadio showed his influence and energy especially well against Philadelphia on Nov. 29, when he netted two goals and helped pace the Bears to a 9-0 win over the Phantoms. His second goal that night was a shorthanded breakaway, a feat that he had never accomplished before.

“It was exciting. I don’t even think I’ve ever had a breakaway before in the American League, and it was nice to score a shorthanded goal and score on a breakaway,” he said.

“It’s something I’ve never done, so I was pretty excited after it happened.”

As the season progresses, Amadio continues to step up the physical aspect of his game, providing more grit on the blue line. “You play against the same teams so much in this division, and it’s a lot of rivalries with Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre,” he said.

“Tempers flare, and next thing you know you’re in a fight, whether it’s sticking up for a teammate or sticking up for yourself. Sometimes I’ve got a short fuse.”

Amadio is always willing to stick up for any of his teammates on the ice, but off the ice he is closest with fellow defenseman Bryan Helmer. “I’m roommates on the road with Helmer, and we sit together on the bus so I’m pretty tight with Bryan [Helmer], and we had played together before in Grand Rapids,” he said.

Clearly Amadio finds himself among a close-knit group of guys, shown by his positive attitude and support for his teammates through every game. After bouncing from team to team, he has made a name for himself and settled down in Chocolatetown.