Dante Giannuzzi is an exceptionally well-spoken young man.
He is the son of Gino and Lisa, and a younger brother to Noah. Dante is 11 years old and attends Grade 6 in the Starbuck Hockey Academy which is within the Red River Valley School Division. He plays for the Assiniboine Park Rangers minor peewee AA team in the winter and with Pro Hockey Development based in Toronto in the spring and summer.
Dante lives, eats, and breathes hockey. I mean he really lives, eats, and breathes hockey. He is a goalie, a darn good one and he takes his craft very seriously.
Dante started playing goal when he was six.
"I started off in Timbits, and I loved it," he says.
His favourite player is Roberto Luongo.
"I like Luongo because he is Italian like me, and he plays for my favourite team, the (Vancouver) Canucks who I loved before we got the Jets. I would watch him play and practice the way he moved in the living room."
Dante puts in a lot of hours to be the best he can be.
"You have to have real good work ethic to be good. Sometimes you may want to do other things but know you should work on hockey. You have to sacrifice things; all my buddies do it, too," he says.
Dante said school is "going well" and that his favourite subject is language arts. He feels it is very important to get a good night’s sleep, and also likes to eat healthy.
"I try to eat chicken, salad, pasta, yogurt, milk, and all that good stuff," he says.
I asked Dante what he eats as a treat.
"Pizza, I like pizza."
Dante is very focused on his ultimate goal to play at a high level as he gets older. He credits his goalie coach, Brent Zelenewich, who is also the goalie coach for the Brandon Wheat Kings, for a lot of what he has learned.
Dante is a very impressive young man, I have no doubt he will accomplish the goals he has set for himself:
"I want to help get my team to the AA finals, I hope to get drafted by a WHL team at 14, and eventually get to the NHL."
Go get it, Dante!
Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker Troy Westwood is co-host of The Big Show, every weekday morning from 6 to 10 a.m. on TSN 1290 radio. He writes about Winnipeg’s unsung sports heroes every other week in the Canstar Community News weeklies.