Memorial Cup

Memorial Cup down, NHL draft to go for DiPietro

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

“You’re at a loss for words at that point. I think you do so much throughout your whole career and you’re never guaranteed winning. Very few times do you have the privilege to win in a season and to be able to do that especially from around here is something special that I hold dear and that I never will take for granted.”

When Michael DiPietro started out on the ice as a young boy, he never imagined he’d go pro, but at the end of the week he will be in Chicago, waited to get drafted by an NHL team. The six-foot tall, 193 pound goalie is relying on his compete level, momentum, work ethic and ability to make the right save at the right time to get him through.

“I think going in with an open mind, a clear mind, you don’t want to get your hopes too high or too low,” said DiPietro, who made the Memorial Cup all-star team during the Spitfires’ recent triumph. “If I hear my name called in the first round I’ll be ecstatic, if I hear my name called in the second round I’ll be pumped, I do recognize goalie is a unique position and not everyone is going to draft a six foot goalie. I think the teams that do believe in me and know what I can do will fall in the right place.”

Peter Leardi, owner of 67 Richmond, dressed Michael DiPietro for his NHL draft. He has known DiPietro since he was in diapers, and said, “for Michael to come back and give me the honor of doing his suit for his NHL draft, it’s a big honor for me.”

Peter Leardi, owner of 67 Richmond, dressed Michael DiPietro for his NHL draft. He has known DiPietro since he was in diapers, and said, “for Michael to come back and give me the honor of doing his suit for his NHL draft, it’s a big honor for me.”

When it came to his OHL draft day, family and friends surrounded DiPietro. He said he had two TVs on in the house.

“It’s a feeling out process,” said DiPietro. “I had team Ontario where I won gold there during the Canadian Winter Games so I felt pretty confident going into the draft but anything can happen with trading picks and so on, so I knew Windsor had the first pick in the second but I really wasn’t sure coming into it. I kept an open mind.”

One of the obstacles DiPietro has had to overcome as a goalie is certainly his size, but he has adjusted his gameplay and often plays more aggressively outside of the paint and gets into spots where he can cut down the angle, especially in upper portions of the net the way taller goalies would. DiPietro explains he just has to move an extra couple inches and his speed, agility and quickness allow him to do just that.

During the NHL scouting combine May 29 through June 3 in Buffalo, DiPietro explained he met with 16 teams.
“I’m not naïve to the fact that, if a team I was talking to throughout the year didn’t want to interview me, it was because they already knew so much about me,” said DiPietro. “It was a time for teams who really didn’t know me to get to know me and have the opportunity to meet with me face to face. I went in with the approach that I only have one chance to make a good first impression and that was my mindset going into it. With the testing at the end, the teams were aware how long my season was, they weren’t really too worried about the testing aspect, but I told them I wanted to test and show them my work ethic.”

This past regular season, DiPietro had a .971 save percentage and 2.35 goals against average with the Windsor Spitfires. He showed similar numbers in their seven-game series against defending OHL champs, the London Knights, with a .917 save percentage and 2.48 goals against.

In DiPietro’s first year with the Windsor Spitfires, he played 29 games, which he said is pretty good for a rookie goalie and this allowed him to build his momentum and bring it forward into this season. He said while not every game goes the way you want it to, it’s all about the way you rebound and his rookie season allowed him to learn from his mistakes and continue improving.

Amherstburg native Michael DiPietro will be in Chicago this weekend for the NHL draft. The Windsor Spitfires goalie hopes to be selected by a National Hockey League team.

Amherstburg native Michael DiPietro will be in Chicago this weekend for the NHL draft. The Windsor Spitfires goalie hopes to be selected by a National Hockey League team.

“I think my consistency definitely changed, my whole overall lookout, the way you approach games day in and day out,” said DiPietro. “Your body is your number one priority throughout the season because if it’s feeling good then that translates onto the ice and I think that was the biggest change and allowed me to play the games I did this year and have the success I did.”

As he heads off to Chicago at the end of the week, dressed for success in a suit by Peter Leardi at 67 Richmond, DiPietro said even making it this far was something he had only hoped for, but it was a one in a million chance and never truly believed it would come true.

“I think back then you have a dream,” said DiPietro. “You want to play in the NHL, you want to be a part of an organization and to be honest I never really thought it would happen. You believe it, you hope one day, and that’s why you play the game and one day you hope to make a career out of it. But I don’t play the game because of a job, I play because it’s something I love to do.”

Amherstburg native a key component of Memorial Cup championship

 

 

Michael DiPietro is no stranger to people in Amherstburg but now he has shown what he can do on a national level.

And it is a lot.

DiPietro, who will celebrate his 18th birthday June 9, did another kind of celebrating last Sunday as he joined his Windsor Spitfire teammates when they captured the Memorial Cup.

The Windsor Spitfires won the Mastercard Memorial Cup Sunday night with a 4-3 win over Erie. Helping the Spitfires triumph was Amherstburg’s Michael DiPietro. (photo courtesy of Tim Cornett/WindsorSpitfires.com)

The Windsor Spitfires won the Mastercard Memorial Cup Sunday night with a 4-3 win over Erie. Helping the Spitfires triumph was Amherstburg’s Michael DiPietro. (Photo courtesy of Tim Cornett/WindsorSpitfires.com)

DiPietro was named the tournament’s top goalie, winning all four games he played in. He allowed only eight goals during the four games – a 2.00 goals against average – and had a sparkling .932 save percentage. That performance earned him that Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s most outstanding goaltender.

The Spitfires knocked off the OHL champion Erie Otters twice, including a 4-3 decision in Sunday night’s final at the WFCU Centre in Windsor. They also beat Erie 4-2 last Wednesday. The other two wins were a 7-1 win over the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds and a 3-2 victory over the QMJHL champion Saint John Sea Dogs.

Windsor Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro hugs his father Vic after the Spitfires’ Memorial Cup win last Sunday night. The Amherstburg native was named the tournament’s top goaltender.

Windsor Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro hugs his father Vic after the Spitfires’ Memorial Cup win last Sunday night. The Amherstburg native was named the tournament’s top goaltender. (Photo courtesy of Amanda DiPietro)

DiPietro was 30-12-4-2 in the 2016-17 regular season with a 2.35 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. He had six shutouts. In the opening round against London, he was 3-4 with a 2.48 goals against average and, mirroring the regular season, a .917 save percentage. He was also a finalist for the OHL goalie of the year.
He is now in Buffalo at the NHL draft combine. The NHL draft starts June 23 in Chicago.

Memorial Cup trophy visits Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup will be decided at the WFCU Centre in Windsor but the trophy itself is visiting several areas of Windsor-Essex County while it is in the area.

Amherstburg was the Memorial Cup trophy’s stop last Sunday afternoon, as it came to the Libro Centre. The colour guard from Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 escorted the trophy into the main ice pad with the fans in attendance lining up to have their photograph taken with the cup.

The Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 colour guard pose with the Memorial Cup and the staff that brought junior hockey’s top prize to Amherstburg.

The Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 colour guard pose with the Memorial Cup and the staff that brought junior hockey’s top prize to Amherstburg.

“The Memorial Cup’s history is iconic to Canadian values,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

DiCarlo pointed out the trophy was originally dedicated in memory of Canadians killed in World War I, but was rededicated in 2010 to all soldiers who were killed in action. Legion Br. 157 president Dave Lauzon said they were pleased to have the opportunity to bring the trophy into the building and echoed DiCarlo’s statements about the history of the trophy.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo pose with the Memorial Cup while the trophy was at the Libro Centre May 21.

The Integrity Amherstburg Admirals and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo pose with the Memorial Cup while the trophy was at the Libro Centre May 21.

Lauzon added it is the Legion’s honour to pay tribute to those who paid the supreme sacrifice.

“Further, we honour Canadian soldiers of today who partake in all conflicts globally,” he said.

The Memorial Cup trophy was originally donated by the Ontario Hockey Association in 1919 to honour the champions of junior hockey. It is considered by some the toughest trophy to win in sports.

Brandi Sieber brought her family and said they had been at the Libro Centre since noon. The kids said the best part was getting their picture with the trophy. Another fan, Josh Fex, said he is hoping to win the Memorial Cup and noted goalie and Amherstburg native Michael DiPietro is his idol.

Rex Bullard, Koheri Sieben, Brie Sieben and Macy Bullard stand beside the Memorial Cup during the trophy's visit to the Libro Centre May 21.

Rex Bullard, Koheri Sieben, Brie Sieben and Macy Bullard stand beside the Memorial Cup during the trophy’s visit to the Libro Centre May 21.

DiCarlo added the town was proud to host the Memorial Cup trophy.

“I think people learned about the history of it, which was very important,” he added.

The 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup runs through Sunday when the championship game will be played in Windsor at 7 p.m. The Spitfires’ last round-robin game is May 24 against the OHL champion Erie Otters.

To see a photo album of the Memorial Cup’s visit to Amherstburg, click here.

Memorial Cup coming to the Libro Centre May 21

 

Special to the RTT

The Memorial Cup is coming to Amherstburg.

The trophy itself, which is closing in on 100 years old, will be on display at the Libro Centre May 21 from 1-3 p.m.

As part of the nine day tournament, the host Windsor Spitfires and the City of Windsor have announced a community tour that will see the Memorial Cup travel across the region so that residents can experience junior hockey’s most coveted prize up close.

memcup_windsor_en copy

The Memorial Cup will arrive in front of the Libro Credit Union Centre and will be escorted into the arena by the Legion Branch Colour Guard at 1 p.m., where residents can enjoy the opportunity of getting their picture taken with this piece of Canadian sport history.

Festivities will start at 12 noon, before the Memorial Cup arrives, with free Turf Tots for toddlers and children under four years of age, face-painting, and FREE popcorn for everyone.

Kids and kids at heart will be able to get their favorite Admirals’ autograph prior to a charity game between the Amherstburg Admirals and the Amherstburg Police Service taking place on the Movati Athletic Rink at 2 p.m. The Ice Bullets Sledge Hockey Team will also be on hand to teach everyone how to shoot a puck while sitting in a sledge.

“We are so excited and honoured to be a part of this event,” says Mayor Aldo DiCarlo. “The 2017 season marks the 99th anniversary of the Memorial Cup, one of the most prestigious and coveted trophies in North American sport.”

The Memorial Cup, has a rich tradition that has shaped the way junior hockey is played in North America. The trophy was originally known as the OHA Memorial Cup and was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association in March, 1919, in remembrance of the many soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice for Canada in The First World War.

In 2010, the Memorial Cup was rededicated to the memory of all fallen Canadian military personnel.