Former state, national championship hockey player making progress

Saugus native Mike Vecchione has been playing professional hockey since April 2017 after leading Union College as its captain to the Division 1 NCAA championship. But after stints in the Philadelphia, St. Louis and Colorado organizations, Vecchione has been catching the eye of the powers that be with the Washington Capitals, while playing for their top minor league affiliate in Hershey.

Vecchione ranks second on offense for Hershey this season with 36 points (12 goals, 24 assists – team leader in assists). The 5-10, 193-pound forward is just four points shy of tying his AHL career high in points for a season (2017-18: 40 points).

The Caps recognized his explosiveness, and called him up two weeks ago to replace Lars Eller, who was out after being diagnosed with COVID. Vecchione knew it was going to be a short term stay with the big club until Eller cleared the protocols. But he liked what Caps coach Peter Laviolette had to say to him prior to being sent down after only about five days with the parent club. It gave him hope that he might be returning soon.

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