Home Town: Rochester, NY
First Amerks Game: 1973-74
Q- Did you have an interest in hockey before you started going to the games?
J.D’ETTORE- I wasn’t really into hockey before I started going. I was a nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital and worked on a surgical floor. The (Amerks)team doctor was Doctor (J.Paul) Lortie. He was a surgeon there. And we used to get all of the players on our floor. If the players had to go into the hospital- home or visiting players- they came on my floor. I think Gerry Cheevers was on my floor, before I got into the Amerks, because I was on that floor from 1967.
The head nurse at the time was an Amerks season ticket holder and she always used to say: come to the games with me.
Plus, my girlfriend , Cathy Warren, (was a fan) and her cousin is Greg “Red Dog” Warren. He was working for the Amerks then. So, that’s how I got started.
Q- Can you recall some of the players that ended up on your floor at St. Mary’s?
J.D’ETTORE- I can remember once we had Len Cunning from the Nova Scotia Voyageurs- he was the result of a fight with (the Amerks) John Wensink. I was thinking: how could this person do so much damage (to another player)? We had Rod Graham, John Bednarski, Daryl Drader. One of the players had their appendix out , another had their tonsils out. We saw them quite frequently, for head injuries sometimes.
Q- Were you interested in other sports besides hockey?
J.D’ETTORE- My one brother is a JV football coach at Aquinas, so we were always involved in football. My other brothers went to Notre Dame so we were always involved in Notre Dame football. There was always sports around the house. They played baseball except for my younger brother- he only played football.
Q- What was your schooling locally?
J.D’ETTORE- I went to Holy Apostles for grade school, Nazareth Academy for high school. And went to St. Mary’s School of Nursing for nursing school. And then I went to Monroe Community College for an Associate Degree.
Q- What do you like about the game of hockey?
J.D’ETTORE- I just like the sport in general. I’m not real wild about the fighting and that kind of stuff. I like watching it. I haven’t gone to a game since 2005, since I retired. And it was just too hard, money-wise. And I had back and leg problems and it was just too much to do all of that walking and standing. I follow them (the Amerks) in the paper.
Q- Did you have season seats to the Amerks games?
J.D’ETTORE- Yes. I started out in the upper level in the curve. And then, my last two years I was in section 16 in the handicapped area.
Q- The game on-ice must have been a little different when you started going to the War Memorial in that 73-74 season?
J.D’ETTORE- Well, there was plexi-glass. The players didn’t all wear helmets. Now, the players definitely have more finesse and they’re skating faster, and there’s more moves.
Q- You started with the Amerks during our Boston-affiliated years…
J.D’ETTORE- Yes, Gordie Clark, Dave Hynes, Chris Halyk and goalie Jim Pettie.
Q- Who were some of your favorite Amerks?
J.D’ETTORE- Geordie Robertson has always been one of my favorites… Randy Cunneyworth. And then, once Jody Gage joined the team, he was my favorite. I know him and the family, I got close with them. He impressed me. He was a good player, good in the community. He put a lot of time into the community, and time into the team. He wasn’t a fighter. He didn’t have to do that. They wanted him scoring.
Q- How did you connect with the Amerks Booster Club?
J.D’ETTORE- I used to see them at the game and my girlfriend was not in the Booster Club. I started going to the the Club meetings, and then I joined. And that was when I met my friend, Mary Dibble. At the time that I joined, she might have been President. She’s been a friend of mine ever since.
I’m not active (with the club now). I’m a member but I can’t go to meetings. I haven’t been to a meeting or a Meet the Players dinner since 2008 or 2009. I miss that but that’s why I enjoy getting the (passing the Puck) newsletter. I can keep up on things with that. And I talk to Mary maybe once a month to see what’s going on . I’m still involved with some of their fund raisers and their Lottery Calendars and stuff like that. I do the best I can with the time I have to do it in.
Q- If someone was thinking about joining the Booster Club, what would you tell them?
J.D’ETTORE- It’s a good organization to be with. Everyone is friendly with everyone. They’re respectful of everyone and they’re very good team supporters.
Q- If you could change something about the game today, what would that be?
J.D’ETTORE- Probably the fighting but I guess that’s part of the game. But now they’re getting a lot more stringent in the penalties being called.
Q- Did you not like some of the Amerks opponents?
J.D’ETTORE- I never liked the Hershey Bears- until I got involved in Booster Club Conventions and the Hershey Bears fans. And I never liked Syracuse- they were always rough and tough. And when we went to Syracuse for a game, their fans weren’t the nicest people in the world. I made some road trips with the Club- not a lot. Every once in awhile I went to Conventions. I (enjoyed) the comaraderie between the different fans and different Clubs.
Q- Did you collect Amerks memorabilia?
J.D’ETTORE- I have an Amerks Moose- with a little jersey. I have an ice scraper- it looks like a hockey stick. I got some hockey sticks from players when there was auctions. I have a big seat cushion I used to sit on (at the games). It has my initials on it and “Amerks Fan”.
Q- What would be your greatest moments as a fan?
J.D’ETTORE- The Calder Cup years in 1982-83 and 1996-97- they were exciting. And when Jody Gage was inducted into the Amerks Hall of Fame.