BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW
Prior to making the OHL, Sudbury Wolves' forward Chanse Fitzpatrick had never been in a fight in the game of hockey.
The victory made Sarnia even more anxious to turn Fitzpatrick into a total fighter.
"They put that role on me," said Fitzpatrick. "I accepted it, but nobody likes to fight."
This past summer, The Wolves acquired the rugged Fitzpatrick.
The six-foot-one, 215-pound right winger always knew there was more to his game than just fighting. With the change of scenery, Fitzpatrick is out prove he's a complete hockey player and he knows that's exactly what Wolves head coach and manager Mike Foligno wants from him.
"Mike knew I could fight and he wanted me to bring out other parts of my game," said Fitzpatrick. "I want to show I can be a player that can put the puck in the net. In Sarnia, I didn't get the opportunity to play, just fight."
Fitzpatrick will still do the rough stuff when he has to.
"If something happens on the ice, I will still get in there," said Fitzpatrick. "This is my third year and there's not to many guys who want to tangle with me."
And when he had to, Fitzpatrick showed he's still a fearsome presence. Earlier this season, he absolutely floored then London Knight, now Mississauga Ice Dog winger Chris Bain in a one-sided scrap.
Ask Michael Root from the Barrie Colts how he felt after being on the receiving end of Fitzpatrick's fury. Root was glossy-eyed for the rest of the game.
Fitzpatrick is enjoying his time in the Nickel City and also likes to be a leader to the young players.
"It's been a positive experience here," said Fitzpatrick. "I hang out with the younger guys and try and make them feel at home. I want to be a leader in the dressing room and on the ice."
Foligno is glad to have a guy like Fitzpatrick on the team.
"Chanse brings a physical dimension to the team," said Foligno. "He allows a certain comfort level out there on the ice for our players. He's a tough player and one of the best fighters in the game right now."
Foligno has given Fitzpatrick an opportunity to expand his role and in turn, hopes it helps Fitzpatrick to continue his career at the next level somewhere in the minor professional leagues.
"For any tough guy to be in that role and survive at this level and the next level, they have to be well rounded," said Foligno. "Chanse has worked hard and now it's up to him how successful he will be. Chanse is a proud guy and wants to be successful."
Above all else, Foligno likes Fitzpatrick's attitude.
"When he's on the ice, he's playing to win," said Foligno. "It helps our club out a lot."
Fitzpatrick is currently enrolled in the business administration program at Cambrian College to help him prepare for the future.
"I want to take over my dad's business one day," said Fitzpatrick. "It's a pizza business in Montreal called Davinci Foods."