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Cranberry's native drafted by Sabres

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Defenseman Mike Weber, a native of Cranberry and a former Penguins Junior B team player, was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round (57th overall) of the NHL Entry Draft on Saturday.

"I grew up in Pittsburgh and played all my minor hockey there, basically," said Weber, who left Cranberry at 15 years old to go play for the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. "I played my last year there with the Pittsburgh Junior B organization, and they were great. They were the ones who helped me out and got me seen and scouted and everything like that to go play in the OHL. They are a big part of where I am right now."

Weber, 6-foot-2 and 199 pounds, was ranked 34th overall among North American skaters by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau. The scouting agency called him a solid skater with good balance who moves the puck well on outlet passes, an effective power-play contributor and a solid positional player who is difficult to beat one-on-one and reads the play well.

He had five goals and 21 assists in 68 games with the Spitfires last year.

Weber's mother, Sheri Rossi, and father, Rich Weber, still live in the area.

He is one of a number of Pittsburgh natives to be drafted in recent years, including Philadelphia Flyers forward R.J. Umberger and Penguins forward Ryan Malone.

"When (Umberger) got drafted (16th overall in 2001), it kind of opened the door, and I said 'Hey, maybe people are watching Pittsburgh,' " Weber said. "The city of Pittsburgh, every time I go back, hockey's getting bigger and bigger, and it's great to see."

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