Caelan Fitzpatrick and the Brooks Bandits made history on Sunday winning their third consecutive Centennial Cup.
They took down the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s (SJHL) Battlefords North Stars 4-0 in the Centennial Cup final.
Now with the dust settled and a few days to relish his win, Fitzpatrick is still trying to wrap his head around being a national champion.
“They do things right here in Brooks and I think it just pays off and that’s why they have had success year after year,” says Fitzpatrick.
To make things even better Fitzpatrick got to enjoy this moment with his teammates and his little brother Liam, who joined the team for the tournament but didn’t play.
“It’s a tight group in the dressing room and I’m brothers with every single guy on our team. This just pulls everyone closer together and I wouldn't have wanted to win with a better group of guys,” adds Fitzpatrick.
“It was a great experience to have my brother [Liam] there and be a part of it. I think it’s a great experience for him too and hopefully, look forward to being back there next year.”
This is a different feeling for Fitzpatrick, as he lost out in the Centennial Cup last year with the Estevan Bruins of the SJHL, finishing with a 1-3 record.
Fast forward to this year, and he is on the team that beat him and the Bruins in their final preliminary game of the 2022 Centennial Cup to end their season.
“It’s an awesome feeling to be on the other end of it this year and a lot more satisfaction out of winning it, instead of leaving empty-handed.”
Brooks was coming into the tournament after having yet another stellar season. They finished the regular season 53-5-1-1 record for 108 points and outscored their opponents 319 to 113. The Bandits went into the playoffs as the #1 seed and had home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
With a 12-3 record in the playoffs, Brooks was able to win their seventh Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) title in the last 11 years.
Fitzpatrick would lead the playoffs in goals with 11 and through 15 games had 16 points.
They continued that dominant play in the Centennial Cup going a perfect 4-0 in round-robin play, outscoring their opponents 27-4. In the semi-final, they shut out the Ottawa Jr. Senators 3-0 to book their ticket to their third consecutive Centennial Cup final.
In the final, against the North Stars, it was a 0-0 hockey game after 20 minutes of play but that soon changed in the second period when they exploded for four goals in the second period.
“We didn’t really change anything. We just had to stick to the game plan, and it takes time to get breakdowns on the other team. We just stuck with it and got a bounce, and it just took off from there.”
That’s all they needed as they took down Battlefords 4-0 to win their third-straight national championship.
“It was a day I will never forget.”
Fitzpatrick is currently 19 and says his plan is to return to Brooks for his final season of eligibility to try and lead the Bandits to their fourth consecutive national championship.