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Minnesota Wild's Vinni Lettieri, grandfather Lou Nanne share deep love of hockey, family

Minnesota Wild’s Matt Boldy transitions to golf
Minnesota Wild’s Matt Boldy transitions to golf 01:43

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin has started to sign more and more homegrown players recently.

One of them signed this summer is Vinni Lettieri, the grandson of Lou Nanne. WCCO sat down with both of them to discuss the road to this point.

Sometimes in life, everything happens at once.

"Obviously, signing with Minnesota is like the best thing that could have happened this summer, besides the wedding," Lettieri said.

This summer, in a one-week span, Lettieri signed with his hometown NHL team and got married. It's a moment in time for a well-known Minnesota family.

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"We know that the most important thing is family, because athletic careers go by very quickly," Nanne said.

Among many things, Nanne is a former star for the Minnesota North Stars. Now, Lettieri will play with a newer Minnesota franchise. Following a paved path, Lettieri, like Nanne, played college hockey for the University of Minnesota.

"He was close to going to North Dakota, but we had a little talk and fortunately it worked out [laughs]! He saw the error of his ways [laughs]!" Nanne said.

But it took an immediate intervention, following his North Dakota recruiting visit.  

Vinni Lettieri and Lou Nanne WCCO

"It was minutes after I got back when I went in the kitchen and I'm like looking through the porch, it was pitch black on the porch, and I see just like a little shadow of a head. I was like, 'Is someone here?' And it's my grandpa in the pitch black, in the porch, turns on the light. 'Have a seat' [laughs!]" Lettieri said.

Years later, Lettieri is on a two-way deal with the Wild, carrying with him a mentality ingrained from a young age from his soccer star dad Tino Lettieri, and grandfather Lou.

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"Either he's gonna be eating steak and I'm gonna be eating beans if I don't compete. I'll be somewhere else making a lot less money. So you have to compete every shift like that's it. You're fighting for your family, for your livelihood, and you have to maintain that kind of intensity all the time. There are no shortcuts to success," Nanne said.

It's a truth Lettieri understands well, despite coming from hockey royalty. He's played for three different NHL organizations, the majority at the minor-league level.

"Pro hockey's been adversity, so nothing new to that. I think it's brought me just to a full circle where I can come here, where my game's finally been in a good place and mature, and hopefully help out with the Minnesota Wild," Lettieri said.

NOTE: The video above is from Aug. 31, 2023.

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