Buttitta learning how to balance hockey, life

Erik Svensson

“I don’t watch hockey, god no,” said Jon Buttitta, laughing at the thought. It’s a surprising statement, coming from the top scoring player on Kent State’s hockey team.

“I hate it, I don’t watch the NHL,” he continued. Watching sports doesn’t appeal to Buttitta much at all.

“It doesn’t really intrigue me,” Buttitta said. “I’m more of a Disney fan.”

However, this doesn’t change the amount of hockey in Buttitta’s life, as the team hits the ice to either practice or play against opponents. The only day members of the team consistently get off is Sunday, explained Buttitta.

“It’s almost the same amount of work as if we were an official university team,” he asserted.

He has also been playing hockey since he was almost four years old, 20 years ago.

Buttitta has spent most of his life on the ice, as the 24-year-old has been playing hockey for more than 20 years.

“It’s kind of getting to that point where I need to hang it up, because I’m getting old,” he said with a laugh.

In fact, he planned to quit playing before coming to Kent State, being convinced to play by a friend.

“I took a few years off after high school to play, and I was 21. I wasn’t going to play anymore, then a buddy of mine said ‘let’s go to Kent, we’ll be on the same line,’” he said.

That same friend left after Buttitta’s first year.

“He got me here, and then he left me a year later,” he said, laughing at the turn of events. “Kent wasn’t even on my radar before he told me about it.”

Now, he is not only Kent State’s top scoring player, but he is also the seventh-highest scoring player in the nation this season. Currently, he has over 20 goals under his belt and more than 40 points for the season. In addition, one of Buttitta’s line mates, Sean Moore, is also one of the top 50 scorers in the nation. Moore attributes it to the work the lines put in together.

“We come out and try to work together and put the puck in the net, and we try to stay in sync,” said Moore.

Despite all of this, hockey doesn’t appear to be on Buttitta’s radar once he graduates. 

“I might try out for a semi-pro team, but that’s a long shot. By the time I graduate, I’ll be almost 26. I’ll want to start a family and move on with my life,” he said.

A junior in health communications, Buttitta wants to use the degree he’s working toward and continue in that field.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to end up in the hospital wing at some place like the Cleveland Clinic. I think that would be nice.”