‘The Wall’ lives up to his billing
While he is small in stature, Griffin Fitzpatrick has earned the nickname “The Wall” for his performance between the pipes.
The nine-year-old atom goalie from Alexandria played his first international contest last week after he was chosen as the only netminder for the North American CanAm Crunch.
“I’m very excited,” said Griffin, even though he admitted that he was under pressure since he would playing without a back-up.
Griffin’s father, David, related that Torontonian Bill Sandiford, who had formed the squad, was confident no number 2 would be required. “All my chips are on this guy,” said Sandiford, who flew in skaters from all across the United States to bolster the North American team in the Kronor Cup.
His faith in Griffin was justified as he backstopped the Crunch to six straight wins to take the international title over squads from Sweden, Los Angeles, Ottawa and Toronto.
In the 8-3 final win over Sweden, Griffin outlasted three goalies from the opposing side, which iced a much larger and older team than the Crunch. “He kept his cool; I was the nervous one,” remarks David Fitzpatrick.
Ian Inskip, of L’Orignal, was also chosen for the Crunch.
“Although some extremely talented players broke through their strong defence Inskip was vital to setting up and assisting goals,” relates David Fitzpatrick.
Ian, a left winger, is a member of the Toronto Pro Brick team.
For the youngsters, “It was an amazing experience and one they will never forget.” Griffin was scouted because of his record with the Glens atom B squad, earning the Most Valuable Player award last season as the team went from being sixth in the regular season to winning the B championship. He faced an incredible 1,100 shots during the last campaign.
“Coaches are astounded by the saves he makes,” says his proud father.
“He has a phenomenal butterfly,” perfecting a post-to-post slide that confounds shooters, many of whom are two or three years older than him.
Fitzpatrick attributes his son’s elite status to his work ethic. Griffin has been training year-round for the past three years. He is never sick, he never misses a game or a practice.
Griffin is following a family tradition. While his father was a forward when he was in the army, his grandfather was a goaltender in his native Bay Roberts, Newfoundland.
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