Sheffield Steelers have rewarded Zack Fitzgerald with a ground-breaking two-year new deal...after just 30 games with the club.
The contract extension secures the 30-year-old skater’s future and is a unique investment by the club’s ownership.
‘Fitzy’ is thought to be the first ever Steeler to be offered such a contract midway through his first term. Rob Wilson was once offered a three-year contract but that was in his second season at the club.
Defenceman Zack has proved himself to be the rugged enforcer Steelers hoped he would be when he left Braehead Clan. But they must have been surprised at the level of popularity he has attracted off and on the ice.
Coach Paul Thompson said: “Wearing my general manager’s hat we have a player that everyone from fans to ownership adore, a player who represents our club in the most professional and respected way possible. Wearing my coach’s hat I can say that there is no better team guy or tough guy, and one hell of a good defenseman. He is not only rock solid and dependable, he makes great defensive plays and block shots.
“Fitzy buys into everything we are doing here and we are doing lots of new things. He is committed to the club and most of all to winning.
Fitzgerald said: “I have been around a bunch of cities in my career and this is the best I have felt and the best I have been treated. My wife and I feel like the King and Queen at times. It’s nice to know you are settled.”
The Amercian added: “We have family for the next two and a half years and that’s a good feeling. My wife and I are happy and looking forward to buying in long term to the Steelers.
“On the ice I love playing here, I feel I am being used to my full potential as a player. We have a great team and great teammates.
“Off the ice who wouldn’t want to play here for this great club and these great fans. They turn out wherever we play, whichever event we turn up at. They support us and cheer us on come rain or shine!”