When a Sheffield Steelers’ clenched fist turns into the hand of friendship

Matt Marquardt - will want to make a rapid impact
Matt Marquardt - will want to make a rapid impact

Zack Fitzgerald owes a particularly warm welcome to Matt Marquardt when the new signing joins the Steelers’ fold next season.

The pair were rivals last year when Marquardt played for Coventry Blaze.

“We had the occasional ‘chat’ on the ice” laughed Sheffield’s enforcer. “We ran into each other a few times.

“There were a couple of chirps here and there and a few times he got mad with me after I gave him a ‘secret’ whack or two!

“But there was no hateful interactions, we had a laugh, and I know he’ll be a good addition” said the American, who will soon start his third season as a Steeler since joining from Braehead Clan.

“He is a big body (6ft 2ins) skilled and never easy to knock off the puck.”

The D-man expects the former Florida Everblades captain to play a similar role to the departing Guillaume Desbiens.

“He can play the up-and-down role but he’s able to light up a game too.”

Fitzgerald also played against another new signing, Tim Wallace, in the north American minors.

“I was at Albany River Rats when he was playing for Wilkes-Barre (in the AHL) and he was always a hard-working quality opponent.

“Thommo (coach Paul Thompson) spoke to me before he got him and I was pumped when he signed for Sheffield.

“He is dangerous around the net and hits hard - the fans are definitely going to like his style over here.”

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