Sports Person of the Week
Fitzmaurice Produces Plenty of Points for the Tigers
Tatum Fitzmarice had a prolific season on offense while leading the Hand boys’ ice hockey squad as a junior captain this winter. (Photo courtesy of Tatum Fitzmaurice )
When Tatum Fitzmaurice was named one of the captains for the Hand boys’ ice hockey team, he knew that he had to shoulder a lot of responsibility and step up as a leader. Tatum was coming off a sophomore season that saw him post 15 goals with 30 assists. Now a junior, Tatum lived up to expectations and then some by scoring 30 goals to go with 37 assists en route to earning All-Conference and All-State First Team honors for the Tigers, who won 18 games on the campaign.
“Coming into this year, we knew we had a lot of potential to do big things. I really enjoyed playing with all of these guys last year, and I really wanted to step up this year in whatever capacity I could,” Tatum says. “I view myself as more of a playmaker, rather than a scorer. I will take someone else scoring any day of the week as long as we win the game.”
Tatum, a center, has been playing hockey for as long as he can remember. He’s always looked up to Colorado Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon, who also plays center.
“Nate MacKinnon has always been a big inspiration and a guy that I’ve tried to emulate when I play,” says Tatum. “He is someone that is very unselfish with the puck at his stick, and he’s a big reason why the Avalanche are second in the Western Conference right now.”
Tatum helped the Tigers put together an outstanding season this winter. Hand finished the year with a record of 18-3-1 and earned a 7-0 win over Guilford in the first round of the Division II State Tournament before it was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“We had a great year overall, and I feel for some of our seniors that weren’t able to give it their all on the ice for at least one more game,” says Tatum. “I feel like we improved in many ways, and our confidence was on another level compared to last year. We enjoyed the big games and moments this year, and we weren’t afraid of them.”
Tatum either scored a goal or had an assist in every game that he played this year. Head Coach Brian Gonsalves says that Tatum and fellow junior forward Joey DeAngelis formed a great 1-2 punch for the Tigers.
“I think Tatum is an incredible talent,” says Gonsalves. “He and Joey DeAngelis were two of our best players this season, because they both were so unselfish. They worked well off of each other, and I give them a lot credit for our success this year.”
DeAngelis had a fine year in his own right by recording 25 goals and 42 assists. Tatum believes that his linemate deserved to make the All-SCC/SWC and All-State teams just like he did.
“Joey had the same amount of points this year as me, and he didn’t even get recognized for Second Team,” Tatum says. “That frustrates me, because he was just as good as me this season, if not better. And he was a huge reason why we had the record we did.”
Tatum sharpens his skills by playing hockey during the offseason. He competes for the Yale Junior Bulldogs team.
“I play year-round hockey, and it’s helped me improve my game a lot,” says Tatum. “I try to skate one to three times a week, and I lift as much as possible to keep my strength and conditioning up.”
Tatum has big expectations for what Hand can achieve during his senior season. Tatum wants the Tigers to set their sights on winning the biggest prize there is.
“I’d love to win a state title before I graduate. That’s been a goal of mine ever since I started playing hockey, and we definitely have the talent on this team to make that happen,” Tatum says. “After high school is done, I’d also really like to play in college if the opportunity presented itself.”
Aside from hockey, Tatum plays midfielder for the Tigers’ boys’ lacrosse squad. Tatum is also an exceptional student who takes all honors classes at Hand.
“I’ve made it a point to make sure my grades are solid,” says Tatum. “Colleges will be looking at grade-point-averages, and I want to make sure that I stand out as much as possible, in addition to my athletic accomplishments.”
Coach Gonsalves feels confident that Tatum has what it takes to play hockey at the college level.
“Tatum is just such a smart player, and it would be hard for me to envision him not playing college hockey,” Gonsalves says. “He’s a tough kid, too, and any program would be lucky to have him contributing to them.”