On November 3, Nashua, N.H., native Jeff Giuliano received a phone call that he has been waiting for his entire life.
"I got the phone call late at night and I thought it was someone messing around with me because it was a ‘private’ [number], so I hung up," explained Giuliano.
After a few attempts, the Los Angles Kings were able to contact Giuliano to invite him to play in the National Hockey League for the first time.
The first people he broke the exciting news to were his parents, who in turn, hung up on him because of the late-night call. When he finally got in touch with them, they were beyond ecstatic for their son who has accomplished so much throughout his hockey career.
The left winger has been a member of the Kings organization since the 2002-03 season, where he has gone beyond the call of duty to make his presence known. He was the only Monarchs player to appear in all 80 regular-season games, collecting 20 points and 16 penalty minutes during the 2003-2004 season.
Giuliano made his NHL debut on Nov. 5 against the Nashville Predators, where he saw 9:14 of ice time in the Kings’ shootout victory.
"I remember sitting on the bench thinking to myself, ‘I’ve done it!’” recalls Jeff when reflecting on his emotions after playing on his first major-league shift.
Kings teammates Derek Armstrong and Pavol Demitra, who both starred in the AHL before forging NHL careers, offered Giuliano the advice of just going out and enjoying his first game and to be sure to take the whole experience in, which is exactly what he did.
Jeff likes to credit his growing level of confidence over the past three years to his steady increase in numbers and his ability to adapt to the probability of making mistakes on ice.
"My workout and training during the summer has not changed,” he said. “I still go back to Boston and train with my former college teammates. My confidence level on the ice has helped me improve my game.”
Adjusting to pro hockey from a prestigious college career with Boston College, including the 2001 national championship, was probably a little harder than Giuliano’s adjustment back to the AHL from L.A.
"It was hard at first because in the NHL they play basically every other night and here in the AHL, we have more practices than games in a week’s time,” he said. “So it took me about a week to adjust back to this routine."
Giuliano is now considered a veteran in a Monarchs line-up that at times consists of as many as 10 rookies. He offers the advice of playing hard each and every night to the youngsters.
"Three years ago when I was in the [ECHL], I never thought I would be playing in L.A.," he said.
Giuliano is considered a great team player on and off the ice. He has been rewarded with the Monarchs’ fan favorite award twice, and captured the team’s community service award in 2004-05.
Giuliano believes that hard work will pay off in the end. He will continue to push himself in Manchester until he gets the call to become a permanent fixture out in Hollywood.