Barracuda Defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald – Profile

By Alexandra Evans

SAN JOSE—Cavan Fitzgerald is commencing his first season of professional hockey with the Barracuda this year, which he could not be more excited for.

“Getting to where I am today [with the Sharks] has been the biggest accomplishment of my hockey career,” he said after a morning practice.

The 21 year-old defenseman grew up in Boston and was influenced by his two older brothers (now 24 and 26), both of whom played hockey growing up. He left home for the first time at age 14 to play hockey in Nova Scotia, Canada, during which he lived with his grandparents. In 2013, he began his career with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (having played for the Shawinigan Cataractes and the Cape Breton Tradesmen before that, splitting time between the two teams). He had 31 points (four goals and 27 assists) in 40 games with Halifax in 2014-15 as a rookie.

After the first seven games of the following season (2015-16), Fitzgerald was ranked second on the team in goals (with three) and T-3rd in the QMJHL. His Halifax career would come to a close after three more games for a total of 50. During this time, he played alongside current Sharks forward and 2015 draft pick Timo Meier and, with his rankings, he was tied with Jeremy Roy, who is now one of his fellow defenseman on the Barracuda.

Fitzgerald attended the Sharks’ training camp in 2015 as a tryout before inking a three-year entry deal with the franchise that October.

“The Sharks are an unbelievable team, San Jose is an unbelievable city. It means the world to be a part of this organization. Every step of the way, you can’t take for granted.”

When becoming a pro hockey player, one is not only encouraged to improve on the ice on a day-to-day basis. Independence plays a big role in self growth off the ice, according to Fitzgerald, who is living on his own for the first time and learning the fundamentals of household basics, such as cooking, he noted. Also, he admitted that he seldom misses the snow. San Jose has a lot in store for him as both hockey season and his residence continue.

Barracuda Defenseman Michael Brodzinski – Profile

Photo: sjbarracuda.com

SAN JOSE—“Those first few steps [on the ice] are huge in moving on to different levels [of hockey], and just seeing yourself getting better every day is a huge accomplishment,” defenseman Michael Brodzinski said of his earliest days on skates.

Born in Ham Lake, Minnesota to a family of hockey stars, Brodzinski, 22, was placed on the ice as soon as he could walk. His father, a lifelong hockey player, played for both the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University, the latter for which all three of his brothers previously played or have committed to.

Originally selected by the Sharks in 2013 (141st overall), Brodzinski first played for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL and then took the college route, playing for Minnesota while studying Business Marketing. In 2015-2016, he made his AHL debut with the Barracuda, appearing in six games total that season. The following season, he played in nine games with the Cuda and 37 with the Allen Americans of the ECHL.

Brodzinski scored his first AHL goal this season, and it was the most impressive of any player thus far. During their second away game against the Cleveland Monsters (who had beat them the day before), the match remained entirely scoreless. With one second left in the overtime interval, Brodzinski got the monkey off his back (as he described the moment) and scored on Matiss Kivlenieks, Cleveland’s goalie.

Since relocating to San Jose, in addition to the weather, Brodzinski has been enjoying the Northern California beaches, a far cry from Lake Superior, the closest landmark Minnesota has to a beach.

Fun fact: Brodzinski’s older brother, Jonny, 24, plays for the Ontario Reign and notched the hat trick in their 4-2 win over the Cuda on November 1 (one of the goals went off of Michael himself). Jonny was selected 148th overall by the LA Kings in 2013. The two brothers last played alongside one another at Blaine High School in their home state.