“With two girls, I didn’t expect them to play hockey. On the contrary, Matilde, the youngest, has always shown a great passion for this sport, from an early age”. The father is Damiano Fantin (51 on January 21), a Hockey Como player in the golden years of Mediolanum sponsorship in the top flight; the girl (15) has just returned from the Under-18 World Cup, where she was a great protagonist, with two goals and the prize for the best player in Italy.
A passion for hockey born by chance. “My parents opened a restaurant next to the Casate building in the 70s – explains Father Fantin – My mother then managed the bar inside and I, already very young (I was 3-4 years old), I accompanied her. So I wanted to skate and my passion for hockey began”. The whole team of white and blue youth as a valuable striker, until his debut in the first team, at 17, at the Mediolanum with the president Fabio Capello (the famous football coach).
Several years at the top, including participation in the Under-20 World Cup in 1991 and then, at age 25, the decision to hang up the skates. “I was very busy between school (I studied company secretariat in Pessina) and the family restaurant that required my presence, so I decided to stop – explains Fantin – and I did it clearly, never stepping onto the ice. not even for fun.”
Until five years ago. “It was Matilde who pushed me to come back. Seeing her play (I went to watch her matches) and above all her insistence convinced me to join the Insubrians, the amateur team which takes part in the Championship of the Canton of Ticino, where I met up with old friends. I am happy even though my daughter teases me saying that we are very slow and also a bit clumsy”. Matilde and Margherita have not seen their father play (they were born after his retirement) and yet hockey has always been at home. “I’m telling the truth: with two daughters, I didn’t really expect to see them with skates and sticks – admits Father Fantin -. But above all Matilde, who is very attached to me, from an early age, instead of watching cartoons, she looked for hockey films. And then I often saw her leafing through my photos which represented me while I was playing. So I took her to see the first team matches in Casate. She was only ten years old when she went, with some of my friends, to watch a match of the Swiss championship in Lugano”. Papa Fantin, however, did not want his daughter to be forced to follow in his footsteps. So he left her free to pursue other sporting experiences: rhythmic gymnastics, volleyball, tennis (she was very passionate).
But in the end, hockey won out and when his older sister Margherita (she is 16) also started playing it, Father Fantin was the happiest man in the world. “Margherita stopped after six months, but Matilde went ahead and is now much stronger than me – she explains -. She arrived in the national team, thanks also to the possibility she had , until a few years ago, to play in the youth teams with the males. Her growth has accelerated since she joined Lugano and evolves in the youth championship and, at the end of the season, in particular in the playoffs, she defended the colors of Ambrì Piotta, promoted to the elite”.
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