It’s been two years. Two long years. Not a day goes by where Marco Scandella doesn’t think about his dad, Francesco Scandella. His hero. His role model.
Francesco Scandella lost his battle against prostate cancer on Dec. 2, 2015. He was just 63 years old.
For Marco, 27, his dad was the center of his world, the person who taught him the meaning of hard work, accountability and what it means to be a man. Those are the kind of characteristics Marco displays on the ice every day.
"My dad was a mentor to me and taught me a lot of lessons about life," Scandella said. "He immigrated (to Canada) from Italy. He was in the army. He went through a lot. He went through language barriers, coming to a new country, learning trade. He was an electrician.
"Some of the struggles that he went through — just talking to him throughout my whole life, he just taught me pride in what you do, to be happy to be alive every day and do your best. Take care of your family. That’s what we have in here. This is my family in this locker room. We’ve got to go to war together every night."
Scandella, taken by the Minnesota Wild in the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, is now in his first season with the Sabres after a high-profile trade that sent him and Jason Pominville to the blue and gold in return for Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno (Buffalo, N.Y.).