The Foligno leap first crept into the NHL in 1979 when energetic Mike Foligno leapt for joy over his first NHL goal; and then every one after that in a career that spanned over 1,000 NHL games. Only twice did the leap not occur, once in Buffalo during an 8-1 rout of the New Jersey Devils, and once in Toronto after returning from a broken leg. Negative fan mail after those two incidents ensured that there would always be a leap of joy when Foligno scored a goal.
The leap returned to the NHL in 2007, on October 19, when Foligno’s son scored his first NHL goal and paid a tribute to his father by leaping. Afterward he exclaimed, it takes a lot out of you to leap like that, I don’t know how my dad did it all those years.
And now, another Foligno is hoping to make a leap, but this time, its the leap into the NHL. At Buffalo Sabres prospect camp this past week at Dwyer Arena on the campus of Niagara University, Marcus Foligno hopes to leap over the AHL into the NHL to a city that adopted his father as “Jumping Mike”.
It’s not going to be an easy leap, given the fact the the Sabres love to develop players in the minors prior to their professional debut, but the youngest Foligno has the size and skill to do it, already besting his fathers frame, and is big enough to push around most other players in the NHL.
With the Aud no longer looming over the Erie Canal Harbor scene, the city of Buffalo, a city known for its love infatuation for its sports teams and sports history, now needs a story to replace the years of tears and blood spilled in the halls and ice of Memorial Auditorium. Having a Foligno on the ice again might be enough for some fans to wallow in nostalgia. It would be an even sweeter story if the Sabres would allow Marcus to wear number 17.