Vipers deal Fitzgerald to Prince George

The Vernon Vipers have traded forward Trevor Fitzgerald to the Prince George Spruce Kings, completing a deal which saw defenceman Ryan Renz join the Snakes at the Jan. 10 trading deadline.

Trevor Fitzgerald

Trevor Fitzgerald

The B.C. Hockey League champion Vernon Vipers have traded forward Trevor Fitzgerald to the Prince George Spruce Kings, completing a deal which saw defenceman Ryan Renz join the Snakes at the Jan. 10 trading deadline.

Fitzgerald, an 18-year-old Vernon product, compiled seven goals and 18 points in his rookie season after playing for the Vipers at the 2010 Royal Bank Cup in Dauphin, Man.

“Did we want to do this deal? No,” said Vipers’ head coach/GM Mark Ferner. “We kind of got handcuffed because we didn’t have enough defencemen (at the time of the trade). Obviously, Fitzy’s a very good player, a very good teammate and he’s going to be missed.

“It’s unfortunate that we paid a premium price. This is the real lousy part of the business. He was a good player for us. The deeper we got, the steeper the price got.”

Prince George dealt Renz, a 17-year-old Castlegar product who is rated as a late-rounder in next month’s NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota, in exchange for future considerations. The terms were based on how far Vernon went in the playoffs.

“There were a number of players they could have had, but they really wanted Fitzy,” said Ferner.

Fitzgerald, who will graduate from high school next month, was distraught after meeting with Ferner and assistant coach Jason Williamson.

“I’m a little bit numb right now,” said Fitzgerald. “That’s the way it goes. It was a good experience with the Vipers. We had a great year and it was a lot of fun.”

Fitzgerald will be reunited with his North Okanagan Knights junior B coach – Dave Dupas – in Prince George.

In another move, the Vipers traded 20-year-old goalie Blake Voth to the North Battleford North Stars of the Saskatchewan Junior League, completing a deal which saw forward Dane Muench land in Vernon at the trading deadline.

The Vipers will return 20-year-old all-star net detective Kirby Halcrow next season.