No matter what happens in the ANAVET Cup junior hockey championship when it opens Friday in La Ronge,
That's because the Manitoba Junior Hockey League's top goaltender will narrowly miss spending his 21st birthday on Monday riding a bus for 10 hours back from La Ronge.
"It's going to be just an ordinary day," said Caligiuri, a
"I'm just happy with where I am right now, we're going to be playing hockey into May. This is definitely the best year I've had playing junior hockey. It's been just an outstanding experience in my last year to play in Dauphin with this group of guys and exciting that we have a chance to go after a national championship."
The Dauphin Kings will host the Royal Bank Cup national junior A championship May 1-9 and the Kings are automatically qualified as the host team.
Caligiuri played the past three seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Brandon Wheat Kings and finished up last year with Prince George Cougars. When the Cougars didn't invite him to camp last fall as an overage player, the Kings made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Mind the twine in one of the best hockey facilities in
A pretty good gig, if you can get it. "We knew he'd be the perfect candidate to be the goaltender and lead us to a championship," said Marlin Murray, Dauphin's head coach.
With Caligiuri between the pipes, the Kings won their first Manitoba Junior Hockey League title in 17 years.
During the regular season, he posted a 2.59 goals against average and 29 wins. Named the playoffs MVP and top goalie, he had an 11-1 record and a 1.70 GAA.
"Joe's leadership has meant a lot to the Dauphin Kings,"
Caligiuri's best WHL season was 2007-2008 when he backstopped the Wheat Kings in 54 games and recorded a 30-19-2 record.
The best-of-seven ANAVET Cup interprovincial junior hockey championship usually decides the West region representative in the Royal Bank Cup national junior A hockey championship. But this year, because Dauphin is already in as host, La Ronge is also already in as the region's representative by virtue of being the ANAVET Cup finalist.
"We were expected to be here. One of the hardest things to do in sport, I think, is to win when you are actually supposed to win," Caligiuri said.