Photo: Chris Diozzi.
Chris Diozzi was the heart of one of Belmont High School’s great boys’ ice hockey team.
At 5’9″ and about 175 lbs, Diozzi was not the biggest athlete, especially for a defenseman. But as a reporter noted at the time, Diozzi “played large” on the ice, a testament to his grit and determination when skating in the crimson and white Marauders jersey.
“On a team of talented players, [Diozzi] was the frosting on the cake,” said his high shool coach, Dante Muzzioli.
Christopher Jason Diozzi of Boston drowned in the waters off Dennis on Cape Cod Saturday, Aug. 27. Diozzi was 31.
Reported missing by friends on Saturday night, his body was recovered Sunday afternoon, Aug. 28. In a statement, the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office wrote: “nothing at this time to suggest the cause of death was anything other than accidental.”
Diozzi’s death remains under investigation, with the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner handling the case, according to the DA.
For the past four years, Diozzi was an associate director of institutional sales at John Hancock Investments in Boston.
In Belmont, Diozzi – who excelled on the playing field and in the classroom – will be best remembered for his time on the ice at “Skip” Viglirolo Skating Rink, the home of the Belmont High School Marauders.
“Chris was that once in a lifetime player, a great person who just breathed confidence,” said Muzzioli, calling from Italy at his daughter’s wedding.
“He was the leader that we needed, a go-to guy in every sense of the word,” he said.
As a senior, Diozzi captained the 2002-3 Marauders to a co-championship of the Middlesex League, the first league title for Belmont in 40 years.
On a team with such outstanding athletes as Paul Garabedian, Peter Shelzi, Schuyler Wiggin, Kevin Vona and Mike Hannon, Diozzi was the player that everyone looked up as he led by example; scoring countless timely goals, getting back on defense to stop a breakaway and encouraging his teammates on the bench and the ice.
That season Diozzi and Garabedian were named league co-MVPs, leading the team to an 18-4-1 record and sending Belmont to the first of two consecutive spots in the MIAA Super Eight state championships.
“He was an impact player who [was on the ice for] more minutes than any other player I ever coached. Chris was that important,” said Muzzioli.
After a post-grad year at Deerfield Academy and a season with the Walpole Jr. Stars of the Eastern Junior Hockey League (where he played defense with future NHL-er Matt Gilroy), Dozzi took his talents to Trinity College (Class of 2009). There he was a four-year starter, playing 100 games and scoring 17 goals and 35 assists for 52 points, co-captaining the team his senior year and being named to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) All-Conference Second Team.
In his senior campaign in 2008-9, Diozzi was a semifinalist for the Joe Concannon Award as the best American-born college hockey player in New England at NCAA Division 2 and 3.
For the past several seasons, Diozzi came back to the home rink in Belmont, joining his old coach on the bench to teach a younger generation the skills and embrace the passion of the sport.
“[Chris] was a success in everything he did because he dedicated himself to what he was doing. We should try to celebrate that life,” said Muzzioli.
Son of Thomas and Stavroula – Lou – Diozzi, Chris was the brother of Matthew and Andrew. Nephew of Angie Stefanou and William Kane and the late Anna Kane, and cousin of Stephanie and Stacey Kane, he is survived by many relatives and friends.
Visiting hours will take place today, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Faggas Funeral Home, 551 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown.