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The one about…his last name

Two I’s, two O’s, two T’s, two Z’s, a P and an N.

Forget the second I and don’t emphasize both Zs and you’ve got “Pinizzotto,” Steve Pinizzotto said slowly Saturday morning as the Excellent Adventure landed in his hometown of Mississauga, Ontario. “If I tell someone to spell it, it’s not happening.”

Pinizzotto said his last name has been butchered “millions and millions and millions” of times, basically by anyone that has ever tried to say it. “I’ve heard Pennazato and Pizzanova, I just hear A’s instead of the O’s, but I’m almost done correcting people because I’ve heard it different so many times.”

He took teasing in stride in grade school, it’s unclear what they rhymed Pinizzotto with, but there’s always something. It has led to a few fisticuffs on the ice, however. He did not elaborate, he just laughed.

Pinizzotto’s father is Sicilian, as are his grandparents on his father’s side. His mom was born in Canada by German parents; Pinizzotto has dual citizenship, but can’t speak or understand a lick of German. He hasn’t even opened his German passport.

Someday he will.

“I’d like to go explore Germany and see where my mom’s side grew up,” he said. “I’ve been to Europe before, Austria, Italy and Germany, actually, but it was during my last year of junior and our coach took the whole team there to tour around a play eight games in 14 nights. There wasn’t much time for anything but hockey.”