The Coquitlam Express are proud to announce that we have acquired 2019 Carolina Hurricanes draft pick and University of North Dakota commit Massimo Rizzo from Penticton to complete an earlier trade. Rizzo fulfils the future considerations from the trade that sent Alex DiPaolo to the Vees.
Rizzo is a Burnaby, BC native and served as Penticton’s captain last season. In an injury shortened season, he still managed to finish 5th on the high powered Vees in scoring with 40 points in 37 games.
The trade marks a homecoming for Massimo, who played his minor hockey just down the highway at Burnaby Winter Club. While injury may have delayed his jump his to the NCAA, Rizzo is ready to make the most of his opportunity here in Coquitlam.
“It feels really good to come back here and live at home while playing. I had an amazing experience in Penticton and can’t say enough good things about the organization. With that being said I am super excited to come to the Express and have a successful season. I remember watching games as a little kid even when they were playing here in Burnaby so I think it’ll be really cool to throw that jersey on for myself and continue the legacy. The goal this season is to obviously win a national championship. I want to be the best player in the league and give my team the best opportunity to win and achieve our goals. I think I bring a lot of offence and leadership to the group. I like to be a 200 foot player but my strengths are definitely creating and contributing to the offence” – Massimo Rizzo
While 7th round picks generally have a difficult path to the NHL, Rizzo is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Joe Pavelski and Dustin Byfuglien as 7th rounders who found their way to the big league. Like Rizzo, Pavelski returned to Junior A after his draft year before jumping to college hockey and eventually the NHL, a path that Rizzo hopes to replicate.
“You hear a bunch of stories of guys like Pavelski who get picked late or some guys who are not even drafted who go on to have successful careers in the NHL. I think it comes down to how bad you want it and how much you’re willing to sacrifice to reach your goals. It’s been a dream of mine to play in the NHL and to have a good successful career and getting picked by Carolina is a huge honour and another step up the latter on working towards that goal. It’s all about sticking to my good daily habits and the stuff I’m doing behind the scenes that are going to make the difference in the long run.”