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Former Crusher Pisano playing in East Coast Hockey League


MANCHESTER, N.H. – It’s Tony Pisano on the telephone from New Hampshire, and he is saying how much he misses Pictou County pizza.

Tony Pisano playing in the East Coast Hockey League. (photo courtesy Manchester Monarchs)

“You can’t find pizza like Acropole pizza anywhere,” says Pisano, a one-time Pictou County Weeks Crushers’ enforcer who quickly became very popular with the fans upon his arrival.

A Boston-area native, Pisano, who stands six foot six inches, was recruited by former Crushers’ coach Troy Ryan in 2007. Pisano didn’t come to Pictou County to score goals; he came to ride shotgun for a Crushers team that would win the Fred Page Cup in April 2008 on home ice.

If Pictou County pizza is one of a kind, so is Tony Pisano.

The fans loved him because he was larger than life, an open personality with a big heart. Teammates loved him for that, too, but also because they knew Pisano could do the heavy lifting.

He loved to fight and wasn’t shy about saying so, once stating that he got a charge from the home crowd’s reaction “when I start swinging.”

Now 27 years old, his ability to toss the knuckles earned him NHL tryouts in Edmonton, Minnesota and Washington.

“I recruited him from a summer tournament down in the U.S. where there was about 10 people in the stands,” Ryan recalls.

“My funniest story was the night before he went to the NHL camp in Edmonton. He didn't have a good suit to wear, so we went to the mall in New Glasgow to get him one, so he would at least look the part. They didn't have a seamstress there, so we had to pick up some hemming tape and go back to my place and figure out how to hem his new pants.”

PISANO THE PRO

While he’ll probably never make the NHL, Pisano has carved out a pro hockey career, which has taken him to places like Louisiana, Missouri, Connecticut and now Manchester, an East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) affiliate of the L.A. Kings.

In his first home game as a Monarch this season, Pisano fought ex-Truro Bearcat Dana Fraser, who plays with Adirondack in the ECHL.

“We were joking about it in the penalty box, our time in the Maritime league,” Pisano says. “He said to me, ‘you haven’t changed very much.’”

At a recent team function with season ticket holders in Manchester, Pisano was a popular guy, even if he’s been a Monarch for a short while. 

“It makes me feel good. It gives me an extra little edge out there. It’s motivation for me,” he says of the support he gets from fans.

While with the Danbury Whalers (Federal Hockey League), he once scored a championship-winning goal to capture a league title with teammate Tyler Noseworthy, a former Crusher who billeted at the same house in New Glasgow as Pisano. The two remain friends to this day.

Traded to the Miramichi Timberwolves in the middle of his second season with the Crushers, he hasn’t been back to Pictou County since he left junior hockey, but hasn’t forgotten his time here.

“I still follow (the Crushers) and I’d love to go back some day,” he said.

“Pictou County was a memorable place – it’s where I graduated high school and won a Fred Page Cup. Pictou County changed my life and it is probably my favourite place I’ve ever played, junior or pro.”

 

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