Tonawanda News — Anthony Tulipane is a playmaker.
With great balance, speed and vision, he carries the puck up ice with his head on a swivel, surveys the defense and looks to create a scoring opportunity for the Kenmore East boys hockey team.
When he finds a mismatch, he slides a crisp pass across the ice to a teammate in hopes that they will bury it past the opposing team’s goaltender.
“He’s an excellent skater and not afraid to play the physical game as well too,” said Kenmore East coach Kyle Pray. “But what he brings to our team overall, his two way play and his constant work ethic and hardworking (mentality), he’s a great role model on the team as well.”
And so far this season, the outcome has been successful as the sophomore has grown into his role as a gritty unselfish forward for the Bulldogs (10-2-1, WNY Federation Hockey), who currently sit atop the Division II standings, four points ahead of West Seneca East for the division title with 22 points.
Tulipane has always had a pure love for the sport. When he was 5 years old, his mother Pam signed him up for a local youth hockey league.
And when Tulipane heard the news, he wasn’t too fond of the idea.
“I didn’t want to play,” Tulipane said. “I remember crying when she signed me up. ... I didn’t really know much about (hockey).”
But through continuous play and development, the game he once had no interest in became his most cherished hobby. He’s even grown fond of Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews for his leadership style.
Tulipane has tried to add Toews’ hard-nosed style of play and willingness to sacrifice himself for the better of his team.
“I like to hustle and just get down low and help out in the corners,” Tulipane said. “And by digging in the corners, I set my teammates up for the next goal. I like to pass a lot too, so it kind of works out. ... You gotta stick up for your teammates too, you’ve gotta have their back at all times.”