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When Edmonton Oilers' right winger Fernando Pisani was growing up hockey was a family affair – one that became

even closer during the world's biggest minor hockey tournament. “I played for Castle Downs, Lorelei, and C.A.C. We never won, but we did come close a few times,” says Pisani. “Minor Hockey Week was always a fun time of year,” he adds. “It gave you the opportunity to play for something. It was always exciting around the household. My brother played hockey as well, and it was a good camaraderie, a good time with just a little rivalry between the two of

ence help develop a bond between the elder Pisani and his son, it provided Fernando an opportunity to develop his game in other ways. “On the way to the rink it helped me in getting prepared,” he says. “It kind of taught me the mental aspect of the game.”

Judging by Pisani's calm, on-ice demeanour it's easy to conclude that he's learned these lessons well. When asked what a team can do to maintain momentum in their favour, or what players can do if their A game seems to have abandoned them - as has been the case with some of his teammates as of late P i s a n i ' s answers are matter of fact. “Scoring goals in the NHL is not an easy thing. You're going against the world's best defensemen,” he says. “It's one of those things where you're not scoring or not playing up to the capabilities that you could be playing up to, you do other things.” He continues, “You need to make good plays on the wall, block a shot, make a big hit, or make a good defensive play.” Sometimes this may be easier said then done, but in the end perseverance has always been Pisani's bread and butter; and this was never more true than at the beginning of last season.

“Minor Hockey Week was always a fun time of year.”

us.” And even though a competitive nature is a large part of every hockey player's persona there's still room for heartfelt moments. “I'll always remember driving to the rink with my dad - always talking about hockey. It was a good experience for me.” But not only did this experi-

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Photo Provided by Andy Devlin, Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club

As most know, prior to the start of the 2007-2008 season Pisani was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. This debilitating disease causes inflammation of the intestines and can make even the most mundane activities difficult, if not impossible. According to an article by the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation published in the November 2008 Maclean's magazine, rather than have invasive surgery, which would make hockey playing next to impossible due to the need for an ostomy bag, Pisani decided to treat his colitis with medication. “It's not something you're just cured of unless you have surgery,” he says. “Right now I'm on Remicade, a maintenance drug.” Pisani valiantly returned to the game after missing only the first 26 contests of the season that year, thus earning him a nomination for the NHL's award for players who best exemplify dedication and perseverance to hockey – the Bill Masterton trophy. He is healthy again and his hockey career is back on track. “Eating right, taking care of myself, getting proper rest, and just getting good doctor's care is the big thing.” Most importantly, he adds, if a person feels that something may be wrong, “you can't be shy or embarrassed about it. You need to go in and talk with somebody and get whatever issue you need to get dealt with.”

Sage advice coming from a true professional.

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Fernando Pisani  

A feature on Fernando Pisani originally appearing in Hockey Edmonton Magazine.

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