Sheffield Steelers ace Zack Fitzgerald is the best of his his type in the league according to coach Paul Thompson.
“When we look back at last season I have to say there were times when I was hard on Fitzy,” said Thompson.
“Every time I was he came back with better and better performances.
“In the run in he was simply outstanding, smart, physical and dominant.
“He showed us what an American League defenceman was. He didn’t make a mistake all weekend, he didn’t take a penalty and he was an inspirational leader.
“You couldn’t fault him.
“Sometimes he gets punished because of the name on the back of his shirt. It’s unfair but I guess it goes with the territory of being who he is.
“I want him to be strong and physical, I want him protecting our players.
“No one in the league does the job as well as he does.
“Sure he takes penalties and I did get on his back a couple of times during the year, but its hard to get mad at a guy who cares as much as he does.
“He is the ultimate team guy, team player.
“I think he could be our best penalty killer, he is a warrior out there.
“His body goes through the wars with the style of game he plays.
“Then what people don’t see is that after a game he spends on average about an hour and a half signing autographs, photos with all the sponsors and showing the kids around the dressing room.
“He is the player all the people want to see and be seen with.
“I think when he gets home he must just collapse.”