Apple Core Minor Jr. B
June 29, 2010
FORMER APPLE CORE CAPTAIN ANTHONY BITETTO SELECTED
IN 6TH ROUND BY THE NASHVILLE PREDATORS AT 2010 NHL DRAFT
Long Beach, NY .--
By Chris Cosentino
The New York Apple Core Junior Program is proud to congratulate Anthony Bitetto and his family for being the 8th player in Apple Core’s history to be drafted into the National Hockey League.
He might not have had his name called from the podium in Los Angeles. Nor did he get the chance to shake Gary Bettman’s hand and take a photo in an NHL hat and jersey with team executives. But Anthony Bitetto never looked for the spotlight – the spotlight always found him.
On Saturday, the former Apple Core captain received a phone call from the Nashville Predators informing him that he was selected in the 6th Round of the 2010 NHL Draft.
The Island Park native spent 13 years playing for the Apple Core youth and junior program. Anthony quickly climbed the organization’s ladder as he began his junior hockey career with AC’s Jr. C CHA team in 2005/2006.
In 2006/2007, he caught the eye of the Apple Core Empire Jr. B team and was called-up half way through the season. Anthony adjusted to the higher level and developed into the team’s best defenseman by the end of the season.
The following year, Anthony was promoted to the Apple Core EJHL team at mid season and, once again, quickly turned into the team’s top defender – scoring in his first game.
Anthony began the 2008/2009 season as the Apple Core EJHL team captain. At the trade deadline it was clear the team was not going to make the playoffs and the organization knew what was best for Anthony.
“I knew he had a great opportunity to play for one of the best teams in junior hockey and, at the time, the decision was simple to send him to Indiana,” said former EJHL Head Coach Chris Cosentino. “He was always dedicated and loyal to the Apple Core organization and it was time for him to move on and be challenged at the highest level possible.”
Anthony, who has always been a tremendous teammate, at first turned down the deal to send him to the USHL because he wanted to finish the season with his teammates. But the AC coaching staff convinced him and his family that this was the right thing for his career as he quickly proved to be the missing piece for Indy’s championship season.
“I want to thank my parents for all the sacrifices they made for me to play hockey and my two brothers for all their support,” said Anthony. “At the end of the day none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for Apple Core. I want to thank everyone at the ‘Core who helped me along the way.”
Another U.S.-born defenseman heard his name called by the Predators at No. 168 (sixth round). Island Park, N.Y., native and Indiana Ice blueliner Anthony Bitetto was a 2009-10 All-USHL Second Team selection after ranking fourth among United States Hockey League d-men in points and sixth at the position in goals (11g-29a-40pts) in 58 games. The 6-1, 210-pounder, who is headed to Northeastern University (alma mater of Poile) in the fall of 2010, is characterized as a two-way defenseman with a booming point shot.
“Bitetto is a good, strong, physical defensemen,” Predators North American Amateur Scout David Westby said. “He makes a good first past, plays an in-your-face style of defense, finishes checks and has good jam defensively.”
Bitetto’s 13.6 shooting percentage was also second-best among USHL defensemen, while his 99 penalty minutes ranked among the Top 15 at the position. Bitetto started the 2008-09 campaign with N.Y. Apple Core of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, before joining the Ice in January, then proceeded to help the club to its first Clark Cup title that spring.