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Where He Is Now: Lino Chimienti

 

Team Social Media spokesperson, Katie Campbell caught up with former Merritt Centennials goalie Lino Chimienti to check out ‘Where He Is Now’;

Favorite thing about playing in Merritt? “How much the community embraced the team. From the first day, I drove into town and took a tour with Coach Luke Pierce, I knew I was going to fall in love with this hard-working small town in the Nicola Valley. Everyone greeted me with open arms and treated me like one of their own. It started with Beth Nadeau, Brian Barrett, Luke Pierce, my billets Sheryl Collins and Ernie Ponting and then of course, all the fans of the Centennials that came to every game.”

Favorite memory from playing here? “It was definitely an honor playing for the longest continuously run franchise in the BCHL. The fact that we played in the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, with such a small ice surface, it created many great memories. There were big hits, great fights, awesome saves and even nicer goals. I remember every home game, whether it was the goal horn, the drums or the fans going wild behind the visiting bench usually when we played Vernon or Penticton. If I would have to pick out one moment, it is definitely the playoff run in 2011-2012.”

What did you do after you were done junior hockey? “After my 20-year-old, I committed play in upstate New York for Hobart College, a very successful Division III hockey program.”

Favorite thing about playing for Hobart? “Just like in Merritt, playing for your school team there is a sense of pride and community. Hobart is a small college with roughly 3000-students, just a bit smaller than the population in Merritt, everyone knew everyone and all the students supported the hockey team. The main highlights were winning two league championships (ECAC West) my final two years there and being extremely proud alumni if the hockey team since they won the league for a third year in a row this past season. When you are in one location for four years, I met some truly amazing people and made friends who will last a lifetime. I am truly grateful for the coaching staff at Hobart for giving me an opportunity to play college hockey in the US and all my teammates that I had through those four years.”

What are you doing now? “I graduated from Hobart in 2016 and I was pursuing a job in finance, when an opportunity to play professionally in France came up. The 2016-2017 season I played for Les Remparts De Tours which is in central France, known as the Loire region. It was an amazing experience, and beautiful region to visit. There were castles and vineyards all within driving distance. The 2017-2018 season I will be playing for Les Corsaire de Dunkerque, which again is in the north of France, 20 km west of the Belgium border. I am extremely excited for this upcoming season, especially learning about a week ago that I will be playing against former Centennial teammate, Jeff Jones. “

 What do you miss the most about playing here in Merritt? “Apart from the people in Merritt, I really miss the scenery. The mountain backdrops and the river that flowed through the city. Being from Montreal, I haven’t seen mountains since I played in Merritt. However, I will be heading out to Edmonton this summer for a couple of days to work with Jamie McCaig (Merritt’s goalie coach), which I’m extremely excited to work and see him again!”
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