Tony Amonte of the Chicago Blackhawks is one of an increasing number of players to reach the NHL via the U.S. collegiate system. After a stellar high school career at Thayer Academy, where he played alongside his good friend and future NHL star, Jeremy Roenick, Amonte went on to become a standout for the Boston University Terriers from 1989 to 1991.
Although his collegiate career was an impressive one, the native of Hingham, Massachusetts will always remember his final game for Boston University, a triple overtime loss to Northern Michigan University in the 1991 NCAA Championships. Two days after the heartbreaking loss, Amonte signed a NHL contract with the New York Rangers. He scored his first NHL goal in his first regular-season game and his 35-goal debut season made him The Sporting News selection as rookie of the year and earned him a berth on the NHL's All-Rookie Team.
Playing on a line with Mark Messier was particularly satisfying for Amonte. His best season as a Ranger came in 1992-93, when he recorded 33 goals and a career-best 43 assists. Toward the end of his third full season, 1993Ð94, he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan. Although he missed out on the Rangers Stanley Cup victory that spring, he benefited from the trade, becoming one of the top scorers in the NHL during his years in the Windy City. He is one of a rare group of NHLers who have scored 30 or more goals in five seasons and one of his career playoff highlights was scoring four goals against Toronto in the 1994 playoffs.
As an American, Amonte has also done an outstanding job of representing his country in international competition. As a junior, he played for the U.S. squad at the 1989 World Junior Championships in Alaska and the 1990 tournament in Finland. He was one of only six collegians on Team USA in the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, helping his team win a silver medal. He also played at the World Championships in 1991 and 1993 and was a member of the U.S. team at the World Cup of Hockey in 1996. In that tournament he scored the game-winning goal against Canada in the third and final game of the championship series and the USA won the gold medal. Today, he says that his top career highlight was that World Cup-winning goal, without a doubt.
Amonte also credited his 1996 international experience with helping him get ready for NHL play and followed through with a 41-goal season in 1996-97. He again broke the 40-goal barrier in 1998-99 (44) and 1999-2000 (43). Amonte also represented his country at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, and the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, Utah where he captured a Silver Medal.
Following a nine-year career in Chicago, Amonte decided to test the free agent market and signed a lucrative deal with the Pheonix Coyotes in the summer of 2002. However, as the season progressed the Coyotes decided to deal Amonte to the Philadelphia Flyers who were in search of prolific goal scorer to lead into the 2003 NHL playoffs. In Philly, Amonte continued to produce offensively and during the 2003-04 season notched his 800th point and was named later that spring to the U.S. World Cup team.
In the summer of 2005, Amonte signed as a free-agent with the Calgary Flames.