Windsor Spitfire goalie pays tribute to Canada's fallen veterans
Windsor Spitfire Michael DiPietro is making it his mission during the Memorial Cup to pay tribute to Canada's fallen soldiers and his mother who died too young.
DiPietro's goalie mask is cloaked in custom designs honouring soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives so that future generations could live in freedom.
A quote on the back reads "I have fought the good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith."
While DiPietro's mask honours the military, it also honours his mother, who died of cancer when he was just five years old. The day she passed away is etched on the back.
"Having that on my mask, she can be with me when I play a game, every time I put it on," DiPietro said. "She was my biggest supporter next to my dad."
The Memorial Cup has deep roots with veterans. In 1919, the coveted cup was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association to remember the thousands upon thousands of Canadian soldiers who were killed or injured during the First World War. More than 65,000 Canadians were killed during the so-called "war to end all wars" and another 172,000 were wounded.
The colourful mask tries to capture that sentiment with a soldier leaning over a cross with bomber planes in the distance.
"I think when the Memorial Cup comes around that's the only time they can get recognition — that and Remembrance Day," said DiPetro. "I think everybody kind of overlooks them, in a way, and I think obviously they deserve a lot more respect than that and that's why we live in such a great country."
DiPietro came up with the idea himself and even designed the back plate, while a shop in London detailed the rest.
Fans can see the mask Friday when the Windsor Spitfires take on the Saint John Sea Dogs.
DiPietro is expected to start as the team's lead goalie.