Fresh out of junior hockey himself, Vancouver Canucks goaltending prospect Michael DiPietro knows all about riding the bus.
The fatal crash in April involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos and their team bus was an earthshaking tragedy that rocked countless people around the world to the core, and many junior hockey players from coast-to-coast — who every day make that exact trek the Saskatchewan-based club was making that day — felt an extra sense of connection to the tragedy.
Now with (maybe) one season left in his OHL career and preparing to embark on his professional one with the Canucks organization in very short time, the 19-year-old DiPietro is honouring some of his hockey family that lost their lives that day with his new helmet designed by notorious mask artist David Gunnarsson.
With sharp colours and a sleek design that gets the point across but isn’t too in-your-face, this stellar bucket features the mountains and orca whale blended into the chin and forehead areas while the bucking bronco logo, the exact one sported by the Humboldt junior team, is featured in green on the right cheek area of the helmet.
In the Instagram caption, Gunnarson wrote, “This bucket is a true storyteller, the more you look at it the more details you will discover. … One thing Mike knew was he wanted to pay tribute to the Broncos on the mask.”
Playing for his hometown Windsor Spitfires the past three seasons, DiPietro was named the OHl’s Goaltender of the Year in 2017-18 and helped backstop the team to a Memorial Cup as the host city one season before.
The 19-year-old, who signed a three-year, entry-level deal which kicks in this fall, will likely return to junior to at least start the upcoming campaign — and will be the favourite to start for Canada’s World Junior team in December.
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