Dawson DiPietro walked into the Janesville Jets organization carrying his hockey equipment in black garbage bag.
Five years later, after playing four years at Western Michigan University, DiPietro has become the second Jets player ever to sign an NHL contract. The Buffalo Sabres signed DiPietro to a one-year entry-level contract a week ago.
The 24-year-old Medina, Ohio, native joins Grant Hutton who signed with the New York Islanders last year.
The Jets traded for DiPietro in January of the 2015-16 season. He scored five points in his first four games and earned a scholarship to play at Western Michigan.
“I still keep in touch with the players from that team as it was one of the tightest-knit teams I’ve ever been around,” DiPietro said in a story on javesvillejets.com. “Janesville is a great community and one of the best hockey towns I have ever played in.”
DiPietro scored 12 goals and had 17 assists in 35 games with Western Michigan. He had 88 career points in 105 NCAA games with the Broncos.
His performance at a Sabres’ development camp last summer sparked Buffalo’s interest.
“He was able to showcase his speed and skill,” Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said at the time of the signing. “His high-energy, up-tempo style was an important asset for Western Michigan.”
While the main goal of North American Hockey League teams is to gain college scholarships for its players, having two players sign NHL contracts is an achievement for the Jets.
“It shows that the Janesville Jets are a top organization in the NAHL with top-notch people working for them,” DiPietro said. “They mold their players and show them how to become men at a critical age in life.”