Utica Comets rookie goaltender Mike DiPietro is discovering his footing on and off the ice within the Mohawk Valley. An East Utica household has even taken the 20-year-old below their wing.
UTICA — Mike DiPietro is the youngest participant on the Comets’ roster.
Spend even a couple of minutes across the proficient 20-year-old goaltender and it’s straightforward to see DiPietro can also be some of the easygoing and affable gamers on the staff.
Midway into his first skilled season as a prime Vancouver Canucks prospect, DiPietro seems to be discovering his footing each on and off the ice within the Mohawk Valley.
“I like it right here in Utica. The individuals are phenomenal. I’m very grateful to be right here,” mentioned DiPietro, who’s from Windsor, Ontario. “I all the time attempt to embrace the neighborhood that I’m in for no matter staff I play. I simply love assembly folks.”
That mindset has led DiPietro to kind what he considers a particular friendship with the DeSarro household, which incorporates Alicia and her husband, Anthony, and their three children. It doesn’t harm that DiPietro and the DeSarros share proud Italian heritages.
“He’s been like a fourth child,” mentioned Alicia DeSarro, who holds a entrance workplace place because the Vice President of Company Partnerships for the Comets in addition to Utica Metropolis Soccer Membership. “He’s younger and doesn’t have a household right here. And I understand how shut he’s together with his household and the way a lot he misses them that it is sort of a excellent match.”
By way of the household, he’s gotten an opportunity to expertise the meals and tradition within the space. When he hasn’t been up with the Canucks – he’s had two stints with the NHL membership and made a aid look – he has joined the East Utica household for dinners all through this season. He’s carved pumpkins with Eight-year-old Adrianna, 6-year-old Anthony and 5-year-old Alex and he’ll play the occasional recreation of hide-and-seek.
“They completely love Mike,” DeSarro mentioned. “They’re always asking ’Is Mike coming over in the present day?’ We don’t have that with different gamers. … It’s type of refreshing to have that.”
DiPietro appreciates the Utica household’s willingness to assist him navigate life away from the ice.
“For them to only welcome me into their house and to get to hold across the little ones and meet their household and mates has allowed me to really feel extra snug right here,” DiPietro mentioned. “I owe rather a lot to their household for welcoming me and making me really feel at house. I actually can’t say sufficient issues about them.”
DiPietro stays shut together with his dad, Vic – he wears jersey No. 64 in honor of his start 12 months – and his stepmom and Skypes with them at any time when he has cooking questions.
One in all three goaltenders on the staff with Zane McIntyre and Richard Bachman, DiPietro has shortly develop into a favourite amongst Comets followers and acquired loud cheers throughout pre-game introductions at a latest house recreation. DiPietro has been a fast research as he continues to make changes, together with to the psychological facet of the sport.
Coming into Friday, DiPietro had a 9-5-1 document with a 2.72 goals-against common and .907 save proportion. He’s skilled just a few bumps alongside the way in which, however he’s largely having fun with himself.
“On the finish of the day, you’re taking part in hockey for a dwelling,” DiPietro mentioned with a smile. “It’s one thing that I like to do. I like the truth that I can win video games. I like the truth that I really feel snug on the market. I really feel like I’m serving to the staff. I all the time wish to be serving to my staff. It has actually been a blast the primary half. … However, I all the time wish to get higher.”