Spencerport’s Paetsch helping Amerks down the stretch

By on April 8, 2019
Photo: Micheline V/ Rochester Americans

It’s been 16 years since now-Spencerport resident Nathan Paetsch was a rookie patrolling the blueline of the Rochester Americans as a seventh-round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres and helping them all the way to the American Hockey League conference finals.

And the team hasn’t advanced that deep into the playoffs since, part of the reason he was brought in to lend a veteran presence on defense and a know-what-it-takes-to-get-there both on and off the ice.

Until recently, that has been mostly off the ice. After not dressing for the first 20 games this season due to a backlog of players, he averaged about one game out of ten. But with recent call-ups to Buffalo he had dressed in a season-high four consecutive contests as the team clinched their second straight playoff berth in late-March. Adding his first goal of the season – in fact his first goal in an Amerks uniform since 2011 – has made it even sweeter.

“That’s huge, especially with our defense the way it is right now,” Rochester head coach and former teammate Chris Taylor said. “Just him talking on the bench a lot and helping the young guys out; he’s pretty calm back there and the locker room before games and between periods it’s great to have him.”

“I feel really good; the coaches and trainers kept me ready in case something happens,” Paetsch said. “It’s been a little different season because we’ve been pretty fortunate with injuries and call-ups. That’s my job to stay ready. You never know what can happen. Look at this week – three guys gone in one week, you just don’t know.

“I don’t know if you noticed, but I’ve been around for a while so prepared and ready for those situations. Obviously, the years have helped and there have been a couple of big situations in my career, so now I’m ready for that type of opportunity.”

Nathan Paetsch

Nathan Paetsch

After spending his first three seasons in Rochester from 2003 to 2006, Paetsch played 167 games over three-plus seasons in Buffalo and Columbus. After splitting the 2010-11 campaign between Syracuse and Rochester, he headed to Wolfsburg, Germany for one season before five seasons in Grand Rapids back in the AHL, which included a Calder Cup championship in 2013. This is his second season and his third separate stint in an Amerks uniform.

The Saskatchewan native met his wife, Jaclyn, while playing for the Amerks and have settled in Spencerport as their home.

“My wife is born and raised and it’s the best place to raise a family. I’ve got two kids (Kellen-8 and Mira-6) and that’s obviously the most important part and they go to the best school (Bernabi) and that’s definitely a key.

“I come from a small town and it’s kind of a country feel, so it’s nice that the kids go out in the yard, play with the neighbors and have a lot of places to run around and stuff.”

And a place to run around with the Calder Cup should the Amerks get there for the first time since 1996.

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