The Ontario Junior Hockey League announced on Monday, March 4 that former Buffalo Sabres captain Michael Peca has been named the recipient of the OJHL’s Executive-of-the-Year Award for the 2012-2013 season.
Peca joined the Buffalo Jr. Sabres as General Manager prior to the 2011-2012 season, and replaced another former Sabre, Grant Ledyard, as head coach late in the season.
Peca made his first big move as Executive over the summer of 2012, signing Tyler Gjurich from the Springfield Pics of the Eastern Junior Hockey League. Gjurich lead the league in scoring with 53 goals and 44 assists for 97 points in 93 games, and helped the Jr. Sabres to a 38-12-5 record for the 2012-2013 season, finishing in second place in the league regular season standings.
Peca also made a trade with the Hamilton Red Wings in December, bringing Nick Scamurra to the Jr. Sabres, which added to their depth.
Before becoming an Executive for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres, Michael Peca played 864 games over 14 seasons in the NHL from 1993 to 1999 with the Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Peca was widely known as a defensive specialist during his NHL career, twice winning the NHL’s Frank J. Selke Award as the league’s best defensive forward, once with the Sabres in 1997, and again with the New York Islanders in 2002.
During his 14 year NHL career, Peca scored 176 goals and added 289 assists for 465 points, to go along with 798 penalty minutes and a plus-66 rating.
Peca spent five seasons of his career with the Buffalo Sabres between 1995 and 2000, after being acquired from the Vancouver Canucks with Mike Wilson in exchange for Alexander Mogilny on July 8, 1995.
With the Sabres, Peca played 363 games and scored 96 goals and added 121 assists for 217 points. He also had 352 penalty minutes and a plus-50 rating. He was also the Sabres captain from 1997-2000, helping lead the team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999, where they lost to the Dallas Stars in six games.
The 2000-2001 season marked the end of his career in Buffalo, as he sat out the entire season due to a contract dispute before being traded to the New York Islanders for Taylor Pyatt and Tim Connolly on June 24, 2001.
Peca retired in 2009 after seven more seasons in the NHL, which included an Olympic Gold Medal with Team Canada in 2002.
Before his NHL career, Peca played four seasons in the OJHL with the Sudbury Wolves and Ottawa 67’s, where he scored 76 goals and added 142 assists for 218 points in 183 games before being drafted 40th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 1992. He also won a Gold Medal with Team Canada in the 1994 World Junior Championships held in Ostrava, Czech Republic.