Jason Simmonds - TC Media
SUMMERSIDE – Summerside Western Capitals defenceman Cavan Fitzgerald is the only player from the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) selected for the Canadian Junior A Hockey League Prospects Games.
The two-game, total-goal series between Team East and Team West will be held in conjunction with the World Junior A Hockey Challenge, which is being held in Yarmouth from Nov. 4 to 10. The games will be played at the Digby Arena on Friday at 7 p.m., and at the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth, N.S., on Saturday at 4 p.m.
The CJHL Prospects Games feature players from the CJHL’s five western leagues taking on a team comprised of the five eastern leagues. Player selection is a joint initiative of the CJHL and NHL Central Scouting.
The 17-year-old Fitzgerald, who is from Lingan, N.S., is in his rookie season with the Capitals. He has nine points, including four goals, and 17 penalty minutes in 15 regular-season games.
“We have been extremely pleased with Cavan so far,” said Capitals general manager Pat McIver. “He’s (Fitzgerald) been a pleasant surprise.
“For a kid who is still midget-aged, we didn’t know what to expect. We knew he was a good player, but he is really stepping up and climbing up the charts there now.”
Fitzgerald, who was drafted by the Capitals in the 2013 draft out of the Cape Breton West Tradesmen major midget program, is coming off a strong game on Sunday afternoon as he recorded three assists in the Caps’ 6-2 victory over the Campbellton Tigers.
“He’s been pretty strong for us all year,” said McIver. “There haven’t been too many games we’ve said he’s had an off-game.
“He’s been a pleasant surprise, and the fact he is playing top D-man minutes for a 17-year-old is pretty remarkable.”
The breakdown of the Team East roster includes seven players from the Central Canada Hockey League, six players from the Ontario Junior Hockey League, four from the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, two from the Ligue de Hockey Junior AAA du Quebec and one from the MHL.
McIver said Fitzgerald’s selection to the prospects team means a lot for the organization.
“Last year, we had a lot of veterans and everybody was focusing on our veterans,” said McIver, referring to the national silver-medallists. “It’s nice we have a young team this year, these guys are growing, they are getting better every game and to have a guy like Cavan get recognized is really, really good for the organization.”
The Capitals’ next game is at Eastlink Arena against the Miramichi Timberwolves on Sunday. Fans are asked to note the start time is 7 p.m.