Vinni Lettieri, far right, scored 40 points in 27 games last season as a Minnetonka sophmore. Photo by Helen Nelson
Minnetonka’s Vinni Lettieri liked the academics, liked the coaches, liked the program.
Most of all he liked being close to home.
Lettieri’s commitment on Tuesday, Sept. 20, to play hockey at the University of Minnesota also comes with the opportunity to play alongside his cousin, Edina’s Lou Nanne.
Lettieri said there is a lot to like about that, too.
“It is really a bonus after the fact that I committed there,” said Lettieri, a junior forward who scored 17 goals and added 23 assists in 27 games last season for the Skippers, about joining Nanne as a recent University of Minnesota commit. “We see each other a ton, actually. Our families are really close.”
Nanne, also a junior, gave his verbal committment to the Minnesota exactly one week before Lettieri. They are grandsons of Lou Nanne, a former Gophers player who went on to play, coach and serve as general manager for the Minnesota North Stars.
Lettieri’s father, Tino, is a former professional goalkeeper who played 11 seasons of professional soccer, including a four-year stint with the Minnesota Kicks of the North American Soccer League.
“Vinni paved his own road,” Tino Lettieri said. “He wants to play the game of hockey at the highest level. His cousin being there is a nice bonus. I’m sure for his grandpa (Lou Nanne) it is a big bonus. He can finally go to one rink and sit down and cheer for just one team.”
The 5-foot-8½, 165-pound Lettieri and 5-10, 165-pound Nanne are on opposite ends of the fierce Lake Conference rivalry between Minnetonka and Edina.
As a change of pace, they have spent the past several weeks playing together on Team Southwest in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League. They were briefly paired on the same line but have spent most of the fall playing on different forward units.
“His style play is a bit more of a grinding style than mine,” the offensively geared Lettieri said. “He has a little bigger body.”
Lettieri said he had narrowed interest from more than a dozen schools, most notably Harvard, North Dakota, Ohio State and Minnesota. The final decision came down to North Dakota and Minnesota.
“I’m definitely relieved to have this done,” Lettieri said. “It has been weighing on me for a while. Now I don’t have to worry about it any more. I can concentrate on winning a state championship.”
Minnetonka, which has seven players in the Elite League, undoubtedly will be ranked among the top five Class 2A teams in the state to start the season.
Minnetonka's Vinni Littieri (19) skates for the puck beside Blaine's Tyler Cline (26) during the Scwan Cup Gold Division at the Xcel Energy Center. Photo by Helen Nelson
|Name||High School||Year||Pos.||College||Verbal Commit|
|Spencer Bell||Maple Grove||Senior||F||Wisconsin||Yes|
|Grant Besse||Benilde-St. Margaret's||Junior||F||Wisconsin||Yes|
|Jake Bischoff||Grand Rapids||Junior||D||Minnesota||Yes|
|Andrew Commers||St. Thomas Academy||Senior||F||RPI||Yes|
|Jordan Gross||Maple Grove||Junior||D||Notre Dame||Yes|
|Christian Horn||Benilde-St. Margaret's||Senior||F||Minnesota||Yes|
|Justin Kloos||Lakeville South||Senior||F||Minnesota||Yes|
|Dan Labosky||Benilde-St. Margaret's||Junior||F||Colorado College||Yes|
|Eli May||Eagan||Senior||D||Minnesota State||Yes|
|Judd Peterson||Duluth Marshall||Senior||F||St. Cloud State||Yes|
|Matt Pohlkamp||Brainerd||Senior||F||Bowling Green||Yes|
|Jake Randolph||Duluth East||Senior||F||Nebraska-Omaha||Yes|
|Joe Schuldt||Minnetonka||Senior||D||Michigan Tech||Yes|
|Eric Schurhamer||St. Thomas Academy||Senior||D||Maine||Yes|
|Dylan Steman||Maple Grove||Senior||F||Michigan Tech||Yes|
|Dom Toninato||Duluth East||Senior||F||Minnesota-Duluth||Yes|
|Hunter Warner||Eden Prairie||Sophomore||D||Minnesota State||Yes|