February 17, 2006
'Special time' for Luongo
STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

TURIN -- Antonio Luongo is back in the country of his birth, in the north instead of the south of Italy, watching his son Roberto play goal for Canada at the Winter Olympics.

It is, in the words of the terrific netminder, "a special time for us, a special time for my family."

Luongo made his Olympic debut yesterday in a rather uneventful win over Germany, but for him it was anything but that.

This is where his roots are based. His father was born in Naples. His mother's family is all Italian born. Until recently, when his grandparents passed away, he made several trips to Italy. He is the only Team Canada player fluent in French, English and Italian.

"I'm having a great time here," said Luongo, who faced all of 12 shots in what might be his only start at the Games. Martin Brodeur is expected to take on the majority of the goaltending duties for Canada. Luongo was just thrilled to get his first opportunity.

He played with his father in the stands, two of his brothers watching, his wife, his mother-in-law, and soon some cousins from Naples who know little about hockey will make their way to Turin to watch the Canadian team, if not Luongo, play.

As of now, Luongo is the official interpreter on the Canadian team, the only player fluent in Italian. He's getting by easily even though he says he, "has a bit of an accent."

"This is my upbringing, my roots" Luongo said, "and that makes it so exciting. I love being here."

Being in Italy was a dream, being in the Olympics never was.

"Growing up, there were no NHL players in the Olympics," he said. "I wanted to make the NHL. I didn't dream of doing this."