By Kris Smith
Tommy Parrottino, Anthony Rinaldi and Ryan Valentini have all been playing on a line together through training camp and the three share more than just the same colour of practice jersey, as they all have Italian last names and heritage in their family.
Tommy Parrottino, 25, hails from Rochester Hills, Michigan but his family roots can be traced back to Italy through his grandparents.
Sharing his thoughts on the first half of training camp and getting to play on a line with Anthony and Ryan, he said: “It is going well, every day we are getting better and getting the rust off from the summer.
“Those guys are awesome to play with, obviously a little Italian connection there but it has been great so far.
Parrottino also gave his take on how he felt the first two games went and the opportunity this weekend provides, he added: “I thought in the first two games we were okay.
“The first game was a little bit iffy with the Fife rink but as the weekend went on, we got to know each other a bit more and whilst we did not get the result that we wanted on Sunday, I think we improved overall.
“This weekend will be another step forward and even in this week’s practices you can tell we are moving forward and progressing every day.”
26-year-old, Valentini from Mississauga, Ontario has his Italian connection through his grandparents and they originated from Central Italy.
He then shared his first impressions on the city, the team and how he thought the games against Fife went.
Ryan commented: “It has been fun, the guys are great, the city is cool and I love coming to the rink every day, so it is fun to get going again and be back out there.
“I think Saturday’s game was a bit better than Sunday’s game to be honest but we have been working hard to build on what Marc has been teaching us.
“In terms of our line, I feel like we have been creating lots of chances and it is just a matter of time before they start going in the net.”
Valentini then discussed the fun side to having Italian linemates but also the benefits of it as well, he said: “It is cool, the three of us all have Italian last names and some heritage at least, with Italian grandparents, so it is something cool that we have in common and I am sure it looks funny on the ice to see the three Italians skating around.
“I think we understand how each other plays, which is great and like I said, we have been creating a lot of chances, so eventually they will start to go in.”
The centerman also spoke about how this weekend’s games will be crucial steps for the team in improving their performances.
Ryan added: “We have not really discussed the other teams yet, we have been focusing on ourselves and what we thought we needed to improve on and building on that through the last couple days.
“It is always different at the start of a new season with a new team, new coach and new players, so we are just trying to build on it each day and I think it will be a good weekend for us, in terms of our performance.”
Anthony Rinaldi, 28, was born in Pierrefonds, Quebec but holds both a Canadian and Italian passport as his family comes from Benevento.
Rinaldi started off by also giving his first impressions on his start to life as a Dundee Star, he said: “It has been good so far, obviously it took a bit of time to adjust to the time zone and everything like that but the organisation has done a tremendous job of allowing us to acclimate to the city and the team.
“It is a very professional team because when everyone walks in, we all feel like we are professional athletes and that is something that we cherish and I am looking forward to the regular season starting.”
He then spoke about his excitement to be on a line with Parrottino and Valentini, adding: “It was really cool that we got put on a line together, obviously with all the Italian names.
“It was something that we kind of joked about a bit when we first saw it and we are very excited to get things going here.
“It has only been a week and a half that we have been together, so we are still learning each other’s rhythm and where we want to be on the ice and I think we are going to start clicking a little bit more as we are getting on the ice more and more often.”
Finally, Anthony shared his thoughts on last weekend’s games and the two European tests coming up this weekend.
He said: “It was a good test for us last weekend to see where we are at and there is a tonne of potential on the ice, so it is just a matter of time before we start clicking and start winning hockey games.
“This weekend we play two teams that we do not know that much about but it will be an exciting weekend for not only us but the fans too, as they get a chance to see other teams from different countries.”
The Stars face MSC Corona Brasov from Romania this Saturday and then welcome Dutch outfit, Tilburg Trappers on Sunday, in our final two preseason matches. Get your tickets HERE!