Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fitzgerald Triplets Trade

The Fitzgerald Triplets Request Trade

On August 9, 2012 the Prince George Spruce Kings officially announced a trade that saw the Fitzgerald triplets (Myles, Leo and Gerry) dealt to the Victoria Grizzlies in exchange for Coltyn Hansen, Cam Larson, David London and future considerations. The trade is a significant one for the Spruce Kings and Prince George hockey fans who loved to watch the triplets on the ice last season.

This was a trade that had to be handled delicately because of the uniqueness of the situation. It's not often that a General Manager is tasked with finding a new home not just for three players, but three siblings that were born only minutes apart from each other and have done many things together including playing hockey for the past two seasons on the same line. The Fitzgerald triplets in unison also requested the trade citing a proximity to their own home as a primary reason.

Knowing that you have an asset like the Fitzgerald triplets on your roster but also knowing that they would like to be moved isn't an easy feat to undertake, but it is one that Spruce Kings General Manager Mike Hawes was able to patiently work through. Perhaps one of the biggest turning points in this offseason deal was the announcement that Bill Bestwick was returning to the BCHL as the Victoria Grizzlies Head Coach and General Manager.

In his last season with the Nanaimo Clippers, Bestwick had recruited the Fitzgerald triplets to play for him and in their first year they quickly became a line that turned heads. At the end of the 2010-11 season, changes in the Clippers organization marked the end of the Bill Bestwick era and ultimately the end of the Fitzgerald triplets in Nanaimo.

It was then that Mike Hawes negotiated a deal with Mike Vandekamp of the Nanaimo Clippers that saw the Myles, Leo and Gerry along with Jesse Ursic dealt to the Spruce Kings in exchange for Josh Bryan, Scott Milnthorp and Trevor Fitzgerald (no relation). The three players were off season acquisitions for Prince George that never played for the Spruce Kings. Jesse Ursic did start the season in Prince George but was later traded to Victoria in exchange for Michael Colantone.

The Fitzgerald triplets were quickly embraced by the hockey fans in Prince George and as the season progressed they developed a defensive side to their game and quickly became the shutdown line. With their ability to cycle the puck and buzz the net they tired out many a player on the other side of the ice and to at least that extent allowed the Spruce Kings top line to go out there and do what they did best last season.

This year of course things will now be a lot different with the Spruce Kings roster. After the trade with Victoria there are only six returning players from last season (Latrell Charleson, Trevor Esau, Sean Landrey, Skylar Pacheco, Tyson Witala and Kirk Thompson). There are also a few other familiar names of players that suited up as APs with the team (Karan Toor and Tanner Fjellstrom).

The acquisition of the new players leaves the Spruce Kings brass content with the team on paper but as you will hear in this interview with the General Manager, don't be surprised if there is another tweak to come. Certainly it won't be any where near the magnitude of today's trade!

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