There was a time, not all that long ago, when everyone in Sudbury, it seemed, knew the story of Danny Battochio. And what a story it is.
Despite providing highlight reel saves in pretty much every single outing with the Sudbury Northern Wolves, the Lively native and ultra-athletic netminder went undrafted in junior hockey ranks.
Undaunted, he parlayed an open invitation to the Ottawa 67’s training camp into a three year OHL career that would see Battochio lead his team to an improbable Memorial Cup run in 2004-05.
His time in Ottawa not only featured 110 career regular season starts, but also included a Cup tournament record 62-save performance in a 3-2 double overtime win over the Kelowna Rockets, one that came mere months after the goaltender needed an eight hour brain operation for a condition that could have taken his life.
Quite the compelling story, indeed.
Battochio would go on to star for three years with the St Francis Xavier X-Men of the CIS, finishing things off with the Rapid City Rush of the CHL/ECHL, and calling South Dakota home for the final six years of his hockey career.
Now, however, the time has come to move on. “It wasn’t an easy decision, first and foremost,” stated Battochio, hanging up the skates for good last spring. “When you have to face that reality that you might have to step away from the game, it’s definitely tough.”
“But our son (Easton) is 13 months old now, my wife had started a new job – it was just kind of the time to open a new chapter and try new things.” Beginning a career with Affiliated Mortgage Company in the city where he has truly taken roots, Battochio looks back fondly upon the very special journey that he travelled through hockey.
“It’s been a great career,” he said. “I always just wanted to work hard, play the game that I love, and get better at it. The opportunities that I’ve had and the friendships I’ve made have been phenomenal. I can’t thank the game enough for that.”
“That whole run to the Memorial Cup, where we weren’t really expected to do too much - and then playing in Rapid City in my first year, and us winning a championship in game six in double overtime, winning a championship that way, these are games that I remember and always will remember.”
“I got to come here (Rapid City) and play a game that I love, meet so many great people, and meet my wife and start a family,” he added. Battochio and wife Jami are kept busy with his ten year old stepson, as well as the relatively new addition to their household.
“Everything was rewarding at every step, and I couldn’t be happier.”