Sports Hockey

'That's a kid's dream growing up in Canada'


Lou and Angie Della Rovere weren't catching any Zs. Not with their son's biggest dream on the line.

"We didn't sleep at all (Sunday) night," said Lou, a mechanic from Maple who waited nervously yesterday morning to hear from his son regarding his fate with Canada's world junior team.

Stefan Della Rovere finally did deliver some news to his dad, and it was the good kind.

"He phoned us just past 8 a. m.," Lou said. "(Alex) Pietrangelo was in the hotel room with him and you could just hear they were really, really excited. They had put on the TV, I guess, and he saw his name come across. It was tense."

Della Rovere posed for team photos in Ottawa yesterday. Around the same time, the 18-year-old Barrie Colts captain's dad was getting pats on the back from his co-workers, tending to his answering machine filled with about 40 messages, and, generally, living every Canadian hockey dad's dream.

His only son is playing hockey for Team Canada.

"This is something we never expected to happen," said Lou, who got the Colts' leading scorer involved in hockey at age 5. "This is unbelievable for him. It's something he'll never forget. That's a kid's dream growing up in Canada. It's been a dream for him."

The Della Roveres, including Stefan's 21-year-old sister, Sarah, were in Ottawa when the Washington Capitals selected the young man friends call 'Delly' in the seventh round of NHL Entry Draft last summer. They plan to be in Ottawa for the world championship, which begins Boxing Day.

Stefan is just happy his parents made it through the mentally exhausting weekend.

"I got a few messages from my dad the night before, and he said he was dripping buckets. He was so nervous," the forward said. "I was glad to call them with the good news."

Lou credits his son for making the most of his opportunities.

"They gave him one chance to play in the Canada-Russia Challenge and he made the most of it," Lou said. "He had a small window of opportunity given to him, and he capitalized on it. He's worked so hard. We're proud of him."

While the Della Roveres have been rooting for their son since Day 1, his billets, John and Kathleen MacDonell, have been Delly supporters since he arrived in Barrie more than two seasons ago.

John MacDonell couldn't be happier for the "very polite, very humorous and quite family-oriented" person he thinks Team Canada will benefit from.

"When they picked him to go to camp, I said to him, 'There's always a place for players like you,'" MacDonell said. "Look at guys like (Jordin) Tootoo and (Stefan) Legein. We always need guys like that."

The tournament runs Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.

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