Goalie invited to world juniors tryout
DiPietro ‘got chills’ after receiving call to try out for Canada’s junior team
It was a call that brought chills to Windsor Spitfires goaltender Michael DiPietro.
The 18-year-old, who is from Amherstburg, was one of 32 players named to Canada’s preliminary camp roster on Wednesday for the World Junior Hockey Championship.
“I’m really excited,” DiPietro said. “You get the call, it gives you chills at first. It kind of shows that all of your hard work that you put in through your career is paying off right now.”
DiPietro is the youngest of the four goalies set to attend the four-day camp, which is set to start on Tuesday in St. Catharines. The final roster will be announced Dec. 15.
“I still have to go there and earn a spot, but to even be recognized as an underage going to this is really humbling for myself,” said DiPietro, who is a Vancouver Canucks prospect. “I’m excited to get started.”
Along with DiPietro, former Spitfires defenceman Logan Stanley, who is now with the Kitchener Rangers, was also named to the camp roster. DiPietro’s selection marked the second-straight day a member of the Spitfires was named to a national junior camp roster. On Tuesday, the defending champion United States named Windsor centre Logan Brown to its 28-man roster for camp, which runs Dec. 15 to 19 in Columbus, Ohio.
“You grew up watching it and it’s something you grow up dreaming about playing in,” said the 19-year-old Brown, who is an Ottawa Senators prospect. “This is kind of the first step.”
The U.S., which is hosting the tournament in Buffalo from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, will only cut five players to reach its 23-player limit. A year ago, Brown was one of those final cuts.
“Being the last cut last year and watching them win the gold medal was tough,” Brown said. “That
really sat with me and still sits with me, so a lot of motivation to go there, make the team and win a gold medal. It’s so close now.”
It was good news and bad news for Spitfires forward Gabriel Vilardi. The Los Angeles Kings prospect was cleared on Tuesday to resume practice. If all goes well, he will be cleared in two weeks to return to action.
Unfortunately, that two-week wait left Vilardi, who has not played a game this season, out of contention for a world junior roster invitation on Wednesday.
“You’re happy and kind of upset,” the 18-year-old Vilardi said. “At the same time, my goal’s been to win the Stanley Cup. Obviously, it would be cool to play world juniors and represent your country, but ultimately I want to play in the NHL next year. If I go there and I get hurt, that could affect my chances. That would be a six-month rehab and that’s just bad for everybody.”
As it stands, Vilardi is expected to return to the lineup on Dec. 28 in Sarnia in the team’s first game after the Christmas break.
“I’ve kind of always been taking it day by day,” Vilardi said. “They said two weeks contact and I’m good to go.”
Spitfires forward Chris Playfair has been named the Ontario Hockey League’s West Division academic player of the month for November.
The 17-year-old Playfair, who is in his first full season with the club, is carrying an 86 per cent average in Grade 12 universitylevel course in data, biology and business at St. Anne high school
Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro says he was excited to get an invitation to try out for Team Canada world juniors team in St. Catharines.