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From Nino To Nino: Wild Star Congratulates 10-Year-Old Hero

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(credit: CBS) Mike Binkley
Mike Binkley has been covering Minnesota news for more than 25 year...
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LITTLE CANADA, Minn. (WCCO) – An NHL star was among those moved last month by the heroism of 10-year-old Nino Johnson, of Maplewood, who saved his grandfather, Pino Lipari, from drowning.

Lipari was in his backyard pool playing ball with his grandson, when the ball drifted into the deep end. Lipari is not a strong swimmer, but tried to retrieve the ball anyway.

He panicked when he couldn’t reach the pool’s edge and started flailing and swallowing water. Young Nino sensed that it would take paramedics too long to reach the home if he called 911, so he began pushing and kicking his much-heavier grandfather to the edge.

This week, Nino Niederreiter of the Minnesota Wild sent a letter of congratulations to young Nino Johnson.

It read:

Dear Nino,

Though I am nearly 4,000 miles away in Switzerland, I saw a story on wcco.com last week about a 10-year old boy in Minnesota named Nino who rescued his grandfather in their backyard pool. I thought that was pretty cool, so I wanted to contact you directly to offer my congratulations. I’m sure your family is very proud of you.

would like to congratulate you in person and am hoping you and your family will be my guest at training camp in September. I think it would be awesome to meet you after practice and give you an autographed jersey, from one Nino to another.

I’ll be in touch later this summer. Until then, enjoy your summer and I look forward to meeting you at Xcel Energy Center in September.

All the best,

Nino Niederreiter

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