Fitzgerald happy after hometown B's draft him

Fitzgerald happy after hometown B's draft him
July 1, 2013, 1:00 am
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NEWARK – While Ryan Fitzgerald was clearly being selected on the merits of his own abilities, there is little reason to deny the connections between the feisty, skilled Malden Catholic product, and the Boston Bruins organization that welcomed him into the fold. Fitzgerald skated for the Valley Junior Warriors this past season, and the 5-foot-10, 170-pound center put up 14 goals and 30 points along with 50 penalty minutes in the first 26 junior games of his hockey career.

So the Bruins stepped up and made him their fourth round selection, and triggered all kinds of memories hanging around TD Garden as the son of a Bruins player in the recent past.

“The time I was here I was running around the locker room. It’s weird to think I am a part of the organization now,” said Fitzgerald. “It still hasn’t hit me fully, but it’s a great feeling.”

He’s moving on to the Heights this season, and will play for Jerry York and the prestigious Boston College hockey program that’s produced so much NHL talent over the last 15 years. It will be the best of both worlds for the 18-year-old as he can keep close tabs on members of the Bruins organization, and make his own mark on the Boston hockey scene with the Eagles.

“It’s a win-win for me. It’s one of the greatest schools in the country, and that’s why I picked it,” said Fitzgerald. “They have a very good winning tradition there, and to be able to play for Jerry York is going to be big for me.

It’s that elite hockey pedigree that pushed the Bruins to select Fitzgerald with the 120th overall pick in the draft, and once again place him in the same organization as buddy Matt Grzelcyk, the Charlestown native drafted by the Bruins last year. Scouting reports peck a bit at Fitzgerald for his lack of ideal size at 5-foot-10 and skating speed that will need to be improved as he moves up to the hockey ladder, but the hockey IQ, the puck skills and the offensive instincts are among his skills that simply can’t be taught.

“He stands for himself. Obviously his father played in the National League, and his uncle is one of our top scouts. But Ryan Fitz is his own man, and he’s a winner,” said Bruins director of amateur scouting Wayne Smith. “I look for him to be a Bruin at some point. I don’t think there’s anything that’s going to hold him back, and he’ll die trying [to make the Bruins].

“There’s nothing he loves more than that city [of Boston] and the hockey team, so it’s a great fit for us all.”

But getting back to the small world nature of hockey in Boston, the North Reading, Mass. native is the son of former Bruins forward Tom Fitzgerald and the nephew of assistant director of amateur scouting Scott Fitzgerald. Ryan’s uncle wasn’t able to be at the Prudential Center site of the draft after suffering serious injuries in a car accident earlier this year, but the Bruins scout was able to watch everything as it happened from his Wilmington home.

Proving that he’s more than just the owner of a wicked slap shot, Fitzgerald was also named the recipient of the 2013 MIAA John Carlton Sportsmanship Award, which is awarded annually to an outstanding male and female student-athlete in an Eastern Massachusetts High School or junior hockey program.