Teen ref Jack Fitzpatrick handles game with NHL greats
Charity match raised money for Kennebecasis Valley Minor Hockey Assocation
Retired players from the Montreal Canadiens took the ice in Quispamsis Thursday night for a charity hockey game in support of the Kennebecasis Valley Minor Hockey Association.
The game between the Montreal Legends and Kennebecasis Stars also featured a rising star — 15-year-old referee, Jack Fitzpatrick.
The teenager was recently in the spotlight for stopping a game and throwing out an angry spectator, who was yelling at the children on the ice.
Fitzpatrick is considering a career as a referee and said officiating a game with former NHL players is a nice addition to his resume.
"I've never really done something this high before," said Fitzpatrick.
Before the game, former Montreal Canadien, Chris Nilan said he would take it easy on the young ref.
"[We'll] try to make him feel as comfortable as he can," Nilan said. "Hopefully he doesn't have to break up any fights."
Mike Brennan, a veteran referee with 30 years experience, said he is familiar with abusive crowds in the sport. He passed along the same advice to Fitzpatrick that he was given early in his career.
"[I said] 'Gee, you know, a lot of people are yelling at me,' and he said, 'No, they're not.' And I kind of thought about it for a minute, and he said, 'They're yelling at the sweater,'" Brennan recalled.
"So sometimes it's intimidation for young officials, that's why a lot of kids quit."
However, Fitzpatrick said he has already "gained a lot of respect," for himself, based on his prior experiences on the ice.
The Montreal alumni at the fundraiser included Steve Shutt, Stéphane Richer, Chris Nilan, Gary Leeman, Pierre Dagenais, André "Moose” Dupont, Alain Côté, and Roy Nolan.
Quispamsis native and American Hockey League defenseman, Randy Jones sported the Kennebecasis Stars jersey, along with some hockey parents.
Boys and girls in the KVMHA novice league, between the ages of six and eight, also got a chance to play against the Legends later in the game.
The Legends won with a final score of 10-6.