Vancouver Canucks

DiPietro gets surprising call to join Canucks

 

 

By Sam Obermyer

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Michael DiPietro’s promotion to the NHL may not have happened as he scripted but it’s an experience he’ll never forget.

“Definitely a cool opportunity stepping on that ice today, soaking it all in and being around the guys,” DiPietro said after serving as the backup goalie for the Vancouver Canucks in their 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.

The Amherstburg native was called up to join the Canucks on an emergency basis after Thatcher Demko was injured in the pregame warmup prior to Vancouver’s Monday night game in Philadelphia.

“I was pretty surprised,” said DiPietro who was playing in the OHL for the Ottawa 67’s. “I was actually at my billet house when it happened. Definitely unexpected but a cool call to get.”

The first person DiPietro shared the surprising news with was his father, Vic DiPietro.

“I called Dad and I told him to put it on speaker so my Mom could hear. I told them and they couldn’t really believe it, they were like ‘What?’ It was kind of funny with the way it all went down but I explained it to them and they were super excited. I think I talked to my Dad 15 times since then.”

Michael DiPietro, pictured on the Vancouver Canucks’ Twitter page, looks around the Capital One Arena in Washington prior to Tuesday night’s game. “This is wild. I’m so excited right now,” DiPietro told the Canucks social media page. (Photo courtesy of www.twitter.com/Canucks)

DiPietro, 19, said he thought a lot about they people back home who got him to this moment.

“I think of my Dad first of all, and all of the sacrifices he made throughout my life, and everyone in Amherstburg that’s helped me. My family, my friends, who since day one have been there for me. And I think of my town itself, it’s a very small town but they love hockey so it’s something that has been really special.”

Canucks head coach Travis Green said before Tuesday’s game that DiPietro would stay with the Canucks until Demko was able to return. It is unknown how long Demko will be out, he flew back to Vancouver on Tuesday for an MRI.

For however long he stays with the Canucks DiPietro is going to make the most of this opportunity.

“To be around the guys at this point in the season battling for a playoff spot and everything, it’s pretty intense. But it’s pretty cool and it’s something that I’m just soaking in and trying to stay out of their way. Just trying to pick their brains a bit as well.”

Fellow Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson said this experience will benefit DiPietro.

“It’s great for him that he can see how it is here because in the future he’s going to be in the NHL.”

 

Sam Obermyer is a supervisor, SiriusXM D.C. Sports Newsroom

 

DiPietro signs three-year contract with Canucks

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Michael DiPietro was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks last June and now he is officially a member of their organization.

DiPietro, who turns 19 this Saturday, has signed his first contract with the Canucks with the announcement coming last week.

“It’s a standard three-year entry level contract,” he said.

DiPietro was in Toronto for a prospects development camp when he got the word.

“My agent and the Vancouver organization had been in contact about a contract for about three weeks,” he said.

Amherstburg native and Windsor Spitfires goalie signs his contract with the Vancouver Canucks, the NHL team that drafted him in June 2017. This photo, used with his permission, was posted on his Twitter account with the message “So happy to announce that I have signed my first NHL contract with the @Canucks ! Thank you for everyone who has helped me get to this point in my life and now the real work begins! See you soon Vancouver 🏒”

While knowing the deal was close to complete, DiPietro said he got up one morning in his hotel room and saw three missed calls on his phone. He returned the calls to find out the deal was done.

“I ended up signing the contract in the lobby of my hotel that morning. It just kind of snowballed from there,” he said.

Noting he was glad to be drafted by Vancouver, DiPietro said he is grateful for the opportunity to become an official member of the Canucks organization. It is another positive step for DiPietro as he is the current OHL Goaltender of the Year and also was one of the three goalies on Team Canada at the recent World Hockey Championship in Denmark.

“Obviously going to Denmark was a great opportunity to learn a lot and I think I did that,” said DiPietro.

As it looks now, DiPietro said it appears he will be starting the 2018-19 hockey season back with the Windsor Spitfires. He hopes to keep improving while guarding the Spits’ net and also hopes for a trip to the World Junior Hockey Championship this Christmas.

In the meantime, he plans on maintaining his training regimen. While he has a development camp in Vancouver, a possible World Junior camp invite in Kamloops and training camps in both Windsor and Vancouver to prepare for, he plans on finding time to hit the gym as well as the ice with his goalie coaches to help him get ready for the season.

DiPietro said he is grateful for the support his hometown of Amherstburg has given him and gives the town “a big thank you” for all the support he has received. He offers similar thanks to Windsor-Essex County as well as all the Spitfires fans everywhere for the support he has received.

“Hopefully we’ll keep building in the right direction.”

 

DiPietro receives “Key to the Town”

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Michael DiPietro’s hockey talents have led him to the Windsor Spitfires with those same talents opening doors for him in Vancouver.

However, his hometown of Amherstburg has given him the “Key to the Town” and the knowledge that the door is always open for him to come home.

DiPietro, 18, backstopped the Spitfires to a Memorial Cup in June and was presented the key by Mayor Aldo DiCarlo Thursday morning in front of town hall. DiPietro said the recognition was something that he will cherish.

“It’s a great honour,” said DiPietro. “Being from Amherstburg and to be able to get the first key ever handed out by the mayor to the town, is something I hold very dear to me. I’m very humbled.”

Windsor Spitfires goalie and Vancouver Canucks draft choice Michael DiPietro (left) accepts a Key to the Town from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

Windsor Spitfires goalie and Vancouver Canucks draft choice Michael DiPietro (left) accepts a Key to the Town from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

DiPietro was joined by many friends and family members and was quick to give credit to his family for the honour.

“I’m grateful for all they’ve done for me and continue to do for me,” said DiPietro.

Noting he was glad to have so many people there for the ceremony, the Vancouver Canucks’ third round draft choice added it was a lot of hard work and dedication to get where he is and his family has been a big part of it.

Even with a ceremony in his honour, DiPietro continues to work on his craft and getting to the next level. He awoke at 5:30 a.m. Thursday and trained in the gym and said he was scheduled to be on the ice in the afternoon.

“It’s a good busy,” he said of his schedule. “I’m definitely not complaining on how busy I am.”

Training camp for the Spitfires starts Aug. 27 and DiPietro adds he heads to Penticton, British Columbia for the start of the Canucks’ training camp Sept. 6. He anticipates having more of a leadership role with the Spitfires this season and hopes to teach younger players and “bring them along.”

DiCarlo acknowledged that a “Key to the Town” is usually given to “people of age with a lifetime of achievements behind them.” He added that “Amherstburg is rebuilding, riding a three-year positive turnaround with a very bright future.”

The mayor said “it follows that the first key go to someone young, a youth from our community – Amherstburg’s future.

“I can think of no better example than Michael DiPietro,” said DiCarlo. “At his young age, he has already accomplished a great deal with a lifetime of achievements still ahead of him.”

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Councillor Diane Pouget congratulate Michael DiPietro (second from left) on receiving the Key to the Town

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo and Councillor Diane Pouget congratulate Michael DiPietro (second from left) on receiving the Key to the Town

DiPietro’s hockey career started when he was six-years-old with the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association. He advanced to Sun County AAA when he was ten-years-old. In 2015, he was the first goalie selected in the OHL draft when the Spitfires drafted him in the second round. He also won a gold medal for Team Ontario at the Canada Winter Games and competed for the Canadian national men’s U17 team.

In 2016, he competed for the Canadian national U18 team with 2017 being a big year so far with the Memorial Cup and World Junior Camp invite as well as being drafted by the Canucks.

“Michael’s talent, continued hard work and dedication to his sport has undoubtedly allowed him to reach his goals,” said DiCarlo. “It will continue to propel him forward and will undoubtedly have a positive influence as an exemplary role model on the youth of our community.”

DiCarlo added that no matter where DiPietro’s career takes him, “he will always be welcome in Amherstburg” and hoped that DiPietro considers the town home for the rest of his life.

Amherstburg’s DiPietro drafted by the Vancouver Canucks

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Canuck it Up! Festival doesn’t come to Amherstburg until August but Michael DiPietro decided to “Canuck it up” a little early.

DiPietro, the Amherstburg native who helped backstop the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires to a Memorial Cup title, was selected in the third round of last weekend’s NHL Draft by the Vancouver Canucks. DiPietro was selected 64th overall, appropriate because he wears #64 with the Spitfires.

Michael DiPietro of Amherstburg was drafted last Saturday by the Vancouver Canucks. (Special to the RTT)

Michael DiPietro of Amherstburg was drafted last Saturday by the Vancouver Canucks. (Special to the RTT)

The 18-year-old netminder was happy to be drafted and also pointed out he was happy to go to a Canadian team.

“It’s a great feeling, especially going to an organization that truly believes in you,” said DiPietro. “There’s nothing like playing in Canada. I can’t wait to get started.”

DiPietro said he was nervous after the second round concluded, as he thought he had a chance of being selected in the latter half of that round. His name was finally called two picks into the third round, noting he heard “Windsor” then his stepmother Assunta scream.

“It was definitely a great feeling,” he said. “It doesn’t hit you until you pull that jersey over your head.”

His selection at number 64 wasn’t lost on him either.

“My mom was watching from above,” he said. “I’m a big believer in that.”

DiPietro’s mother Becky passed away when he was a child.

Michael DiPietro heads to the draft floor after having his name called 64th overall in the June 23-24 NHL Draft. The Windsor Spitfires' goalie was the second pick of the third round.

Michael DiPietro heads to the draft floor after having his name called 64th overall in the June 23-24 NHL Draft. The Windsor Spitfires’ goalie was the second pick of the third round. (Special to the RTT)

A emotional twist at the NHL Draft came via Michael’s wardrobe. He surprised his father Vic by wearing a tie that Vic had received from Becky years ago with Vic surprising Michael with cuff links that included diamonds that came from the earrings his mother used to wear. Credited with the idea regarding the diamonds was Assunta.

The Canucks hold goalies in high regard, he said, so he is happy to be chosen by the Pacific Division club. He heads west Thursday and will go to Whistler with other prospects and will skate in Vancouver next week at a development camp. DiPietro met with Canucks officials at the draft, including president Trevor Linden, general manager Jim Benning and goalie coach Dan Cloutier, and was told he and fellow goalie prospect Thatcher Demko are seen as the future for the team in goal.

“That’s nice to hear,” said DiPietro.

After being selected, he went to the Canucks’ table on the draft floor and met the team’s executives. He met with the media for about 30-35 minutes and also did an interview with TSN Vancouver radio. Photos, signings and a number of other obligations kept him busy most of the day Saturday with that also including heading to Vancouver’s suite in Chicago’s United Center where he met even more team officials.

“All in all, it’s a day I’ll never forget,” he said.

The career trajectory for DiPietro is likely another year or two in the OHL and some time in the American Hockey League (AHL) before making the NHL, but he’s hoping to make the NHL as soon as he can.

Vancouver was a team he spoke with at the recent NHL draft combine in Buffalo.

Michael DiPietro shows cufflinks his father Vic gave to him. The cufflinks feature diamonds that  originally were part of his mother’s earrings. Michael surprised his dad by wearing a tie his mother originally gave his dad.

Michael DiPietro shows cufflinks his father Vic gave to him. The cufflinks feature diamonds that originally were part of his mother’s earrings. Michael surprised his dad by wearing a tie his mother originally gave his dad. (Special to the RTT)

“We had a really good conversation at the combine,” he said, noting he also met with Benning and Linden at that point as well. “Things kind of snowballed from there.”

Thus far, DiPietro plans on sticking with his usual training regimen, including working with goalie coach Brian Spearing and trainer Rob Maggio.

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” he said.

The last few weeks have been busy yet exciting for DiPietro, as the Spitfires won the Memorial Cup May 28 and he was drafted less than a month later.

“It’s probably been the best month of my life,” he said.

A group of Stella Maris students were walking back to school Monday afternoon when they came across the new NHL draftee and had their photo taken with him.

A group of Stella Maris students were walking back to school Monday afternoon when they came across the new NHL draftee and had their photo taken with him. (Special to the RTT)

The 6’0”, 202 lbs. goalie knows he isn’t the biggest netminder around, but he said he is confident in his ability. His ability to stop pucks will also lead him to a World Junior camp in July.

Roughly 30-35 friends and family went to Chicago for the draft to support him and DiPietro said he is thankful to everyone for the support. He said it was special to share the experience with everyone.

DiPietro had a 2.35 goals against average, a .917 save percentage and a franchise record six shutouts in the 2016-17 regular season in Windsor, where his record was 30-12-6.