Rory Fitzpatrick

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Rory Fitzpatrick
Born (1975-01-11) January 11, 1975 (age 39)
Rochester, NY, USA
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)
Position Defense
Shot Right
Played for Montreal Canadiens
St. Louis Blues
Nashville Predators
Buffalo Sabres
Vancouver Canucks
Philadelphia Flyers
National team  United States
NHL Draft 47th overall, 1993
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career 1995–2010

Rory Brian Fitzpatrick (born January 11, 1975) is a American former professional ice hockey defenseman who played 10 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers. He was known as a journeyman depth player at the NHL level. He currently serves as the head coach of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres 12 and under squad.[1]

Playing career[edit]

He spent his junior career in the OHL with the Sudbury Wolves, and was selected in the second round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, 47th overall, by the Montreal Canadiens.

After completing his junior eligibility, Fitzpatrick made his professional debut in the AHL, although he eventually joined the Canadiens and played 42 games. Just six games into the following season, however, Fitzpatrick was dealt to St. Louis in the blockbuster Pierre Turgeon trade, where he played a pair of games before being shipped down to the minors. After that demotion, Fitzpatrick would only play one more game in a Blues uniform, spending the bulk of his time in the minor leagues before finally being traded to the Nashville Predators.

Fitzpatrick's luck did not improve with the Predators, one of the NHL's newest expansion teams, and he was sent to Edmonton after only two games. In Edmonton, he spent time as a healthy scratch, but never actually saw NHL icetime. He was, however, a reliable offensive threat with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Following the 2000–01 NHL season, Fitzpatrick became an unrestricted free agent. Signing with the Buffalo Sabres as a depth defenseman, Fitzpatrick spent the majority of 2001–02 with his hometown team, the Rochester Americans of the AHL, although he did play five games with the Sabres. This gave him an opportunity to be reunited with former junior teammate Jay McKee.

In 2002–03, Fitzpatrick again started the year in Rochester. However, he was recalled four times by Buffalo, and the last time, on February 12, he stayed with the team, and spent the entire 2003–04 with them. Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff played him in all situations- evenstrength, on the power play and short-handed. A knee injury prematurely ended Fitzpatrick's season.

In July 2004, Fitzpatrick filed for salary arbitration, but was able to reach a deal with the Sabres before the hearing. During the NHL lockout, he spent his time doing odd jobs before signing with Rochester for the final twenty games. He also played with the Original Stars Hockey League before its collapse, and worked at a hockey clinic.

After returning with the Sabres for 2005–06, Fitzpatrick then moved on to the Vancouver Canucks the following season and secured a role as a depth defenseman playing in 58 games and appearing in the post season. A free agent, Fitzpatrick then signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on October 9, 2007, and split the 2007–08 season between the Flyers and AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms.[2]

In 2008, Rory's former AHL club, the Rochester Americans (also his hometown) requested that now sole parent club, the Florida Panthers, provide the Amerks with more veteran players to aide prospects, and put together a winning team. The Panthers responded by recruiting fan-favorite Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal, to have him lead the way for Rochester's defense.[3]

2007 All-Star Game vote[edit]

Uncle Rory, a poster made for the campaign

During the 2006–07 NHL season, while playing for the Vancouver Canucks, despite having zero points in 18 games, Fitzpatrick finished third in All-Star Game voting for defensemen in the Western Conference with 550,177 votes, falling 23,000 votes shy of second place Nicklas Lidström, winner of 4 Norris Trophies and 3 Stanley Cups.[4]

The idea was to use the new NHL procedure, where people were encouraged to vote as often as they liked, to have an unlikely candidate chosen. Contributors to this goal sent the idea across the Internet in the hopes of having Fitzpatrick voted in as one of the two starting defensemen for the Western Conference.[5] They also created several videos on YouTube as a way to spread news. A website, www.voteforrory.com, was created as well.[6] Rory peaked in balloting at the number 2 position, before eventually being bumped from participation in the game to third place.

The plot was originally conceived as a humorous campaign designed to show the flaws in the NHL voting system. The logic was that if enough people voted for an unlikely player to start the game, the league would change its system. After some time, the plan metamorphosed for many into a more symbolic gesture.[7]

For his part, Fitzpatrick — who never actively supported the campaign beyond donning a T-shirt at the request of photographers — stated that he had gotten a kick out of the movement and acknowledged the hard work that his supporters had put into it.[8] Fitzpatrick's teammates were also supportive, with several voicing their intention to vote, and wearing customized "Vote for Rory" T-shirts at a team practice.[9]

The final voting results on January 13, 2007 saw Rory finish in third place behind Scott Niedermayer and Nicklas Lidstrom, meaning he did not start in the All-Star game. Slate found the final results suspicious due to unlikely numerical coincidences in the final week of voting, and believed that the NHL altered the vote counts.[10]

Final Voting Results[11]
Player Team Votes
Scott Niedermayer Anaheim Ducks 591,657
Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings 573,069
Rory Fitzpatrick Vancouver Canucks 550,177
Chris Pronger Anaheim Ducks 433,972
Dion Phaneuf Calgary Flames 395,168

Transactions[edit]

  • June 26, 1993 - Fitzpatrick drafted by Montreal
  • October 29, 1996 - Montreal trades Fitzpatrick, Pierre Turgeon and Craig Conroy to St. Louis for Shayne Corson, Murray Baron and a 5th round draft pick (Gennady Razin)
  • October 5, 1998 - Boston claims Fitzpatrick off waivers from St. Louis
  • October 7, 1998 - St. Louis claims Fitzpatrick off waivers from Boston
  • February 9, 2000 - St. Louis trades Fitzpatrick to Nashville for Dan Keczmer
  • January 12, 2001 - Nashville trades Fitzpatrick to Edmonton for future considerations
  • August 14, 2001 - Buffalo signs Fitzpatrick
  • August 17, 2006 - Vancouver signs Fitzpatrick
  • September 14, 2007 - Philadelphia invites Fitzpatrick to training camp.
  • January 3, 2008 - Philadelphia places Fitzpatrick on waivers

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1992–93 Sudbury Wolves OHL 58 4 20 24 68 14 0 0 0 17
1993–94 Sudbury Wolves OHL 65 12 34 46 112 10 2 5 7 10
1994–95 Sudbury Wolves OHL 56 12 36 48 72 18 3 5 18 21
1994–95 Fredericton Canadiens AHL 10 1 2 3 5
1995–96 Fredericton Canadiens AHL 18 4 6 10 36
1995–96 Montreal Canadiens NHL 42 0 2 2 18 6 1 1 2 0
1996–97 Worcester IceCats AHL 49 4 13 17 78 5 1 2 3 0
1996–97 Montreal Canadiens NHL 6 0 1 1 6
1996–97 St. Louis Blues NHL 2 0 0 0 2
1997–98 Worcester IceCats AHL 62 8 22 30 111 11 0 3 3 26
1998–99 Worcester IceCats AHL 53 5 16 21 82 4 0 1 1 17
1998–99 St. Louis Blues NHL 1 0 0 0 2
1999–00 Worcester IceCats AHL 28 0 5 5 48
1999–00 Milwaukee Admirals IHL 27 2 1 3 27
2000–01 Milwaukee Admirals IHL 22 0 2 2 32
2000–01 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 34 3 17 20 29
2000–01 Nashville Predators NHL 2 0 0 0 2
2001–02 Rochester Americans AHL 60 4 8 12 83 2 0 1 1 0
2001–02 Buffalo Sabres NHL 5 0 0 0 4
2002–03 Rochester Americans AHL 41 5 11 16 65
2002–03 Buffalo Sabres NHL 36 1 3 4 16
2003–04 Buffalo Sabres NHL 60 4 7 11 44
2004–05 Rochester Americans AHL 20 1 1 2 18 9 0 1 1 12
2005–06 Buffalo Sabres NHL 56 4 5 9 50 11 0 4 4 16
2006–07 Vancouver Canucks NHL 58 1 6 7 46 3 0 0 0 6
2007–08 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 19 0 1 1 11
2007–08 Philadelphia Phantoms AHL 19 1 4 5 24 12 0 2 2 11
2008–09 Rochester Americans AHL 46 4 10 14 37
2009–10 Rochester Americans AHL 44 0 6 6 37 2 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 287 10 25 35 201 20 1 5 6 22

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Buffalo Jr. Sabres Headed to Quebec". 20 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Flyers signs defensman Rory Fitzpatrick to a contract". Philadelphia Flyers. 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  3. ^ "Panthers sign Steve MacIntyre, three others". hockeyfights.com. 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  4. ^ NHL All-Star Vote Results, January 10, 2007, NHL.com, accessed January 10, 2007
  5. ^ Mirtle, James, The 'Vote for Rory' campaign gains steam, Globe and Mail online, November 30, 2006
  6. ^ Colleluori, Chris, Schmid creating a star in NHL, Auburn Citizen, November 30, 2006
  7. ^ Wyshynski, Greg, The Rory Details, The Fourth Period, December 2, 2006
  8. ^ Botchford, Jason, Grassroots Groundswell, Vancouver Province, December 1, 2006
  9. ^ Vancouver Canucks, Time to Vote, The Insider, December 1, 2006
  10. ^ Engber, Daniel, Rorygate - The NHL's All-Star voting disaster: A Slate investigation, Slate, January 18, 2007
  11. ^ All-Star Fan Balloting Results, [1], NHL.com, January 9, 2007

External links[edit]