By: John Nee '93
Senior Colan Fitzgerald had huge shoes to fill in his family after his older brothers Brendan and Ryan had stellar hockey and baseball careers at Chicago Catholic League rival Fenwick. In eighth grade, after taking the entrance exam at Benet Academy, Colan decided he wanted to set his own path at St. Rita…and he has done just that!
Fitzgerald was recently recognized by Chicago Catholic Hockey League coaches as the top defenseman in the Catholic League. In 19 games this season, he scored 11 goals and handed out 14 assists, averaging well over a point per game, an unbelievable accomplishment for a defenseman whose main focus is shutting down the opponents’ top line. In his career, "Fitz" has scored 26 goals with 41 helpers in 63 Catholic League games, averaging over a point per game for his career.
Fitzgerald is a three-time Chicago Catholic League All-Star and a two-time All-State selection. He was also a member of the Illinois Showcase team in 2016. He is a virtual lock to make the team again this season. Despite all his individual accolades, being named team captain in his senior year might very well be his greatest honor. To wear the “C” on your jersey is the greatest honor bestowed upon any hockey player by his teammates, and Fitzgerald has worn it well leading the “Skating” Mustangs to a tremendous season that has seen them ranked as high as the top five in the entire state.
Oh by the way, Fitzgerald is also a returning starter for Mike Zunica’s varsity baseball team where he manned left field last season while batting over .300 in the number two hole most of the year.
After a hard-fought Kennedy Cup semi-final series loss to Providence, Coach Brian Coleman’s '99 “Skating” Mustangs have now set their sights on a state title. St. Rita will open state playoff action on Saturday, Feb. 25 at Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood against Carmel of Mundelein. Fitzgerald will do his usual juggling act during the state playoffs, practicing with the baseball team in the afternoon and shutting down the other teams’ top lines at night.
He and his family wouldn’t want it any other way!