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ECHL shutout leader trades goaltending for cooking

by Brian Compton

Marc Magliarditi hopes his success as a restauranteur mirrors that of his ECHL career, where he was the second-winningest goalie in the league's history.
Marc Magliarditi has turned in his pads for spatulas.

Actually, Magliarditi won’t be a chef, but the ECHL’s all-time leader in shutouts has turned the page in his life with the opening of a “Cheeburger Cheeburger” restaurant in Las Vegas.

Magliarditi, who turns 32 on July 9, won 217 games in the ECHL – second most in league history. Overall he spent parts of 10 seasons in the ECHL, including three with the Las Vegas Wranglers. Magliarditi also played in Columbus, Florida, Louisiana and Richmond.

Magliarditi hung up the blades in January of 2007, eager to begin a full-time career in real estate. His retirement came just months after he finished arguably his best season in pro hockey, as he went 34-11-5 with a 2.47 GAA and a .909 save percentage for Las Vegas. He hadn’t won 30 games in a season since the 1998-99 campaign, when he racked up 32 victories for Florida.

Since that time, he’s enjoyed plenty of success off the ice. His restaurant is doing well despite still being in its infancy stage as it opened up less than three months ago. These days, Magliarditi is breathing a sigh of relief after putting in tireless work to make sure his new venture became a reality.

“It’s been a long process to get to opening and the whole development,” Magliarditi said. “We were ground-up in a new center that was also ground-up. It was something I’d probably maybe steer away from the next time around if I’m jumping into the food-service industry for the first time. It’s probably best to have an existing building and not have to deal with all the delays and everything that goes along with new construction. But it was exciting to get it opened and see what it’s all about. It’s definitely interesting. Every day is something new.”

Indeed it is. After all, the former goalie said he never even dreamed he’d be in this position as recently as a few years ago. But as season passed and Magliarditi inched closer towards his 30th birthday, he knew changes in his life were coming fast and furiously. The Niagara Falls, New York native made Sin City his permanent residence when he joined the Wranglers in 2003.

“It never crossed by mind, to be honest with you,” Magliarditi said of owning a restaurant. “It’s one of those things. I slowly was preparing for life after hockey. It’s part of the reason why I came to Vegas. I’ve had a lot of family out here for years, so when they announced a team was coming here in ’03, it was a great opportunity for me to finally be able to plant my roots somewhere. I’ve been selling real estate for a little over three years now.”

While the restaurant is officially open for business, Magliarditi is still working out the kinks. He’s devoting a small section of the eatery to his playing career and Las Vegas hockey. Memorabilia will soon be on display.

“We’re in the process of that,” Magliarditi said. “Being that it’s a franchise, I had actually shied away from doing anything like that. Corporate came in and a bunch of Las Vegas Wranglers fans were in, and corporate saw that and some of the e-mails that came through. They thought it would be a great idea to put some memorabilia up so people can relate to it when they’re coming in. We’re going to have a designated area – a jersey and some photos of the current and past players.”

Each time he walks by that memorabilia, he’ll almost certainly be reminded of his playing days. The former sixth-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks (1995) has his share of mileage, dating back to his first ECHL game with the Columbus Chill more than 10 years ago.

“I had a lot of fun in my career,” Magliarditi said. “I did a lot of traveling. I had the opportunity to play in Florida in parts of my second, third and fourth year. Looking back on it now, being there in a new building with a new franchise … that was an exciting year for me. That was a good group of guys.”

It was awfully similar – if not identical – to what transpired in 2003, when Magliarditi arrived in Las Vegas.

“The exact same situation,” Magliarditi said. “New building, new team, new franchise, new market. That first year was a great group of guys. Having a chance to be a part of those two organizations and getting them off the ground was great.”

As for regrets, Magliarditi doesn’t have many. He can look himself in the mirror everyday knowing full well that he did everything in his power to advance in his career.

Unfortunately, he appeared in just one American Hockey League game (Cleveland, 2002-03). He also spent time in the International Hockey League, with stops in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Detroit and Cincinnati.

Once he joined the Wranglers, he knew time was running out. He was ready to start thinking about life after hockey.

“That’s kind of the reason why I was OK with settling in Vegas,” Magliarditi said regarding the lack of opportunities in the AHL. “I retired somewhat early. I could probably still play, but I knew it was time for me to move on if I wasn’t going to get a legitimate crack. I had my sniffs, but I knew it was time to move on to something else. I wish I had a better opportunity.”

Magliarditi did have the opportunity to watch the Wranglers get over the hump and reach the Kelly Cup Finals in 2008 for the first time in franchise history. Las Vegas enjoyed its third-straight season of 100 points or more before falling to the Cincinnati Cyclones in the final round.

“It was exciting to see,” Magliarditi said. “I didn’t know much about Cincinnati. I knew Vegas was tough all year and I thought it was going to be their year. I did make it to all the games in the finals, and I was really impressed by both teams. It was a great series to watch.”

That being said, it must have difficult for a recently-retired player to watch an intense playoff series, right?

“It definitely is,” Magliarditi admitted. “I’d say I don’t miss it, but of the people that know me, they know I miss playing the game and that competitiveness that comes along with it,” Magliarditi said. “Watching those games, there’s no question I wanted to go down to the locker room and suit up. The part I don’t miss is not getting your crack and the bus trips. But watching those playoff games makes you miss playing.”

Church gets another year – The Phoenix RoadRunners announced earlier that coach Brad Church has agreed to a one-year extension. Phoenix went 24-39-9 last season and missed the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

“I’m excited about the direction our team is heading in,” Church said. “We acquired some quality players throughout the course of last season and despite coming up a bit short in the end, I believe there is now a foundation in place for the RoadRunners to be successful over the next few years.”

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