Thompson full of admiration for “warrior” Fitzgerald

Sheffield Steelers’ boss Paul Thompson says Zack Fitzgerald is the “ultimate team player”.

The rugged defender has helped the Steelers to one regular season title and a play-off crown during his time with the club and Thompson is delighted with the impact he’s had in Sheffield.

“I think in Zack Fitzgerald we have the best player of his type in the league,” Thompson told the club’s official website.

“When we look back at last season I have to say there were times when I was hard on Fitzy – every time I was he came back with better and better performances.

“In the run-in he was simply outstanding – smart, physical and dominant. He showed us what an American League defenceman was.

“He didn’t make a mistake all weekend, he didn’t take a penalty and he was an inspirational leader – you couldn’t fault him.

“Sometimes he gets punished because of the name on the back of his shirt – it’s unfair, but I guess it goes with the territory of being who he is.

“I want him to be strong and physical, I want him protecting our players. No one in the league does the job as well as he does.

“Sure he takes penalties and I did get on his back a couple of times during the year, but it’s hard to get mad at a guy who cares as much as he does. He is the ultimate team guy, team player.

“I think he could be our best penalty killer, he is a warrior out there.

“His body goes through the wars with the style of game he plays, then what people don’t see is that after a game he spends on average about an hour and a half signing autographs, photos with all the sponsors and showing the kids around the dressing room.

“He is the player all the people want to see and be seen with. I think when he gets home he must just collapse.”

(Image permission: Dean Woolley)

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