Four former North American Hockey League (NAHL) players, Stephen Gionta, Andy Greene, Peter Harrold and Cam Janssen, will represent the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals, which begin on Wednesday in New Jersey against the Los Angeles Kings.
Gionta, a forward from Rochester, New York, played in the NAHL for a part of three seasons. During the 1999-00 season, he played for the Rochester Jr. Americans, where as a 16-year-old, registered 26 points in 41 games played. The next two seasons, Gionta played for the USNTDP Under-18 team, which competed in the NAHL. He appeared in 64 career NAHL regular season games. Gionta went on to have a four-year, collegiate career at Boston College. To date, Gionta has been one of the pleasant surprises in the Stanley Cup playoffs, recording seven points in 18 playoff games.
Greene, a defenseman from Trenton, Michigan, played in two full seasons in the NAHL for the Compuware Ambassadors. He played in 107 career NAHL regular season games from 2000-02, recording 76 career points and helped Compuware to the 2002 Robertson Cup Championship. While in the NAHL, Greene committed to play NCAA hockey for Miami (OH) University, where he later went onto have a tremendous four-year collegiate career. Now in his sixth full season in the NHL, Greene has played in 347 career NHL games, registering over 100 points.
Harrold, a defenseman from Kirtland Hills, Ohio, played three seasons in the NAHL, all for the Cleveland Barons. He started his NAHL career as a 16-year-old in the 1999-00 season. In three seasons, Harrold appeared in 117 career NAHL regular season games and totaled 53 career NAHL points. Like Gionta, he went onto a four-year collegiate career at Boston College. Now in his sixth full season in the NHL, Harrold is in his first full year with New Jersey after playing the first five seasons, ironically for the Los Angeles Kings.
Janssen, a forward from St. Louis, Missouri, played one season in the NAHL back in 2000-01 for the St. Louis Sting. As a 16-year-old, Janssen played in 45 games during the 2000-01 season, recording three points and 244 penalty minutes, which ranked 2nd in the NAHL that season. New Jersey drafted Janssen in the 4th round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Janssen has appeared in over 300 NHL games, with 11 points and 750 penalty minutes.
Last season, NAHL alum Tim Thomas won the Stanley Cup with the NHL’s Boston Bruins and in the process was named as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Thomas, who is from Flint, Michigan, played for the NAHL's Lakeland (Mich.) Jets before embarking on a four-year college career at the University of Vermont (then ECAC) from 1993-97. Thomas was the winner of the 2009 and 2011 Vezina Trophies as the NHL's best goaltender and played for Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.