"When I moved here, living in Manhattan, just meeting people that had been affected by it, it was a reality check. Knowing how huge those towers were and the devastation it caused, it was a big eye-opener when I moved here."
-- Marc Staal
arrived at South Mountain Arena in West Orange, N.J. early in the morning on Sept. 11, 2001 with anticipation and nerves. It was around 8 a.m. on his first day of training camp in the NHL and Gionta was preparing to make an impression on the
An hour later, training camp meant so little. An hour later, the world was a much different and more dangerous place.
Gionta grew up in Rochester, N.Y., which is about a five-hour drive from lower Manhattan. He grew up adoring the New York City skyline, and on that fateful morning, while he was starting his NHL journey, the World Trade Center was falling.