NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The South Carolina Stingrays, East Coast Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitols, have announced that former Bemidji State University forward Leo Fitzgerald has signed a contract to play out the remainder of the 2017-18 season.
The Port Alberni, British Columbia native, who will wear No. 17 for the Stingrays, will make his professional debut tonight at 7:07 p.m. when South Carolina hosts the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Fitzgerald will play out the remainder of the season with the Stingrays, which includes 16 regular-season games, and a March 15-16 series versus the Idaho Steelheads and former teammate Michael Bitzer. At 37-12-6-1, the Stingrays are second in the ECHL’s South Division and are one of two teams that have already locked up a postseason berth.
During an injury-shortened senior season, Fitzgerald posted two goals and two assists in 23 games. A regular on a BSU power-play unit that set a Division I-era program record for conversion efficiency at .217, Fitzgerald scored a power-play goal. He finished the season with 40 shots on goal, 11 blocked shots and a +1 plus/minus rating.
In 126 collegiate games as a Beaver, Fitzgerald posted 43 points (13g-30a), highlighted by a 17-point junior season during which he recorded career-highs of six goals, including a team-best four game-winners, and 11 assists. He was a three-time WCHA All-Academic Team member for the Beavers.
The Beavers finished the 2017-18 campaign with an overall record of 16-14-8 overall and recorded a 13-9-6-4 record in WCHA play, to earn fourth place in the WCHA standings and the right to host the first round of the WCHA Playoffs for the third time in four years.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).