Derek Whitmore has waited a long time to get the phone call telling him to pack his bags and head to Buffalo. He got that call Monday morning, telling the Greece, NY native that he'd been called up to the Buffalo Sabres. He'll make his debut along with rookie Marcus Foligno who was also called up by Buffalo. Both players will be on the ice for the Sabres on Tuesday in Ottawa.
"Pure joy and excitement," Whitmore said when asked to describe his feelings upon receiving the news. "I'm 27 years old and it's been a long road and to finally get that phone call from Buffalo is a dream come true. I'm playing for a team in Rochester that I grew up cheering for and the Sabres were my favorite hockey team as a kid and it's definitely something very special and my family and I."
Whitmore re-signed with the Sabres this past off-season, knowing that he wanted one more shot at his dream of playing for Buffalo in the NHL. He admitted, that after three-plus years in the AHL, not getting the call was frustrating at times.
"When you see guys getting called up, it does, but you don't bring that to work and let it affect you, the way you play, or your approach to the game. You've just got to take everything in stride and stay patient. I knew it wasn't going to come easy but at the same time I thought I could maybe put myself in position by re-signing with Buffalo that maybe at some point they might want to give me a look."
Whitmore leads the Amerks with 13 goals this season, and watched several of his teammates including Corey Tropp, Zack Kassian, Colin Stuart, T.J. Brennan, and Brayden McNabb, just to name a few. Whitmore and Foligno are the tenth players to be recalled by Buffalo this season.
Whitmore becomes the first Rochester native since Rory Fitzpatrick to play for the Buffalo Sabres.