Sports

Boys Co-Captain Conner Fitzpatrick Leads through Hockey IQ in First Season at Andover

COURTESY OF PHILLIPS ACADEMY

After last winter’s hockey season was written off by Covid-19, Andover Boys Hockey Co-Captain Conner Fitzpatrick ’22 is playing his first season at Andover as a captain, sharing the role with Co-Captain Patrick Last ’22, who’s returning for his second season on Andover Hockey. 

As a newcomer to the team, Fitzpatrick believes he brings fresh ideas and a different perspective, which combines with Last’s experience to provide a strong leadership. 

“I would call it a good balance of [Last] knowing what’s been done in the past and me kind of working with that and also maybe having a new mindset to things—maybe changing things that we don’t like or that haven’t worked,” said Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick prefers to show his teammates how to act and play on the rink, rather than tell them. 

“I’m more of a lead by example leader. I’m not very vocal, but I don’t yell or anything like that. Just do the right thing and hope people notice and follow along,” said Fitzpatrick.

Despite Fitzpatrick and Last having different roles as new and returning players respectively, they lead the team in a similar fashion, according to Last.  

“I would say we have very similar leadership styles. He leads the team the same way I do. He carries himself highly. He’s been doing a great job so far this year. I would honestly say the same thing I said about myself because we always co-coordinate the team activities. It’s never just one of us… I’m thrilled to be working with Conner as Co-Captain. He’s always putting in a lot of effort. I never feel like he’s slacking off. He’s always there to talk to and we can figure issues out if we need to one-on-one,” said Last.

Head Coach Paul Tortorella ’80 praises Fitzpatrick’s positioning on the ice and his understanding of the game of hockey; he wishes for the other players to take inspiration from the way he positions himself in the rink.

Coach Tortorella said, “He [has] a good understanding of the systematic play. In other words, his positioning. Something I want all the kids to emulate is where he is on the ice when he doesn’t have the puck.”

Coach Tortorella also emphasises Fitzpatrick’s mature conduct. According to Coach Tortorella, his willingness to compromise exemplifies his strength as a leader. 

“The second thing is he’s just mature and he’s a can-do as opposed to questioning about why even if he doesn’t agree with something. He understands his role and it’s about ‘I’ll take care of it.’ And he’s that kind of person where he’ll take care of things because somebody has to and he’s willing to be that person,” said Coach Tortorella.