Michael DiPietro excited to join 'special' 67's team

Ottawa 67’s coach André Tourigny said adding star goalie Michael DiPietro to the lineup will build more momentum for the already red-hot team.

Star goalie was traded from the Windsor Spitfires on Tuesday

Michael DiPietro talks to the media at his first practice as an Ottawa 67. (Stu Mills/CBC)

Ottawa 67's coach André Tourigny said adding superstar goalie Michael DiPietro to the lineup will build more momentum for the already red-hot junior team.

The 67's have the best record in the league at 22-3-3-1 and haven't lost a game in regulation in more than two months.

Tuesday, they swung a deal that sent draft picks and a prospect who has said he'd rather play American university hockey to the Windsor Spitfires for the reigning goalie of the year in the OHL.

"Everybody has had their eyes on DiPietro. He is the best goalie in the league," Tourigny said on CBC Radio's All In A Day

"He is a character kid. He is obviously a great hockey player, but he is also a fantastic individual."

"There's something special happening here," said DiPietro following his first practice in Ottawa Wednesday morning.

Windsor Spitfires goalie Michael DiPietro hoists the trophy after defeating the Erie Otters to win the Memorial Cup in Windsor, Ont., on Sunday, May 28, 2017. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Even though the team has been successful, Tourigny said they want to ensure the momentum continues.

He said they also want to show the current players that they're doing everything they can to make the team better.

"They've worked extremely hard to be where they are right now and it's a situation where we can say 'We believe in you,'" he said.

The 19-year-old from Windsor was invited to the Canadian world junior hockey team camp last year and is considered a strong contender to make it to this month's tournament in B.C. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

The 67's are trying to make it past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

"I love to win and the culture here is similar to Windsor: they want to win," said DiPietro, who's from Windsor and has played in that area his entire life.

"It wasn't an easy decision [to come here] but it's best for my hockey career."

DiPietro is a Vancouver Canucks third round draft pick and has been invited to try out for Canada's world junior hockey team.

Michael DiPietro decided to become a goalie after watching her stepbrother play. 0:40

Tourigny said he knows the 19-year-old's time with the team might be short, but it will be important.

"We will have him for the end of the season, [then] we fully expect him to go to the pros next season."

Tourigny said the team is not focusing on its record, which only trails Saskatchewan's Prince Albert Raiders in all of Canadian junior hockey.    

"We are not pretending we will be the miracle team," he said.

"We are not looking at our record, the wins or the losses, we are just trying to be better every day."

Michael DiPietro. If you're a hockey fan you're going to want to remember that name. We checked in with the Ottawa 67's head coach about an historic trade that brought this Windsor Spitfire goalie to Ottawa. 8:44

Ottawa's next games are Friday and Saturday, a new home-and-home series against the Gatineau Olympiques billed as the Alexandra Cup.

Tourigny said DiPietro will definitely start Saturday at TD Place, then leave for world juniors camp the next day.

He's still deciding who will start in goal on Friday.