It will be a family affair behind the bench for the John Bapst Memorial High School boys’ hockey team this season.
Longtime referee and former Brewer High School standout Devin Fitzpatrick will be the Crusaders’ new head coach. His brother, Dylan, and their father, Mike, will assist him.
“My dad and I had coached a midget [ages 15-17] travel team that had some success last year, and a couple people reached out to me and asked if I would be interested [in the John Bapst job],” the 30-year-old Fitzpatrick said. “The more I thought about it, the more I was [interested].
“It’s going to be fun working with Dylan and dad. Dylan and I worked together with a midget team that was the Maine Freeze at the time and is now the Junior Black Bears. We had fun together. And dad helped me all season last year. Our schedules have made this a reality.”
Mike Fitzpatrick was an assistant at Brewer when his boys played. They won the Class B state championship in 2007.
Devin Fitzpatrick was a defenseman and Dylan was a forward.
“I don’t think the three of us have been on the bench together since we played for dad in high school,” Devin said.
Fitzpatrick said he isn’t sure what style of game they will implement because it’s the first week of practice and they are still analyzing the team.
“It’s a blank canvas right now,” he said. “The goal this year will be to figure out where the talent level is, tailor our game around the talent and move forward from there.”
The Crusaders went 8-9-1 under Chris Tanis last season before losing to Presque Isle 4-1 in the quarterfinals.
The Fitzpatricks will have what could be an unprecedented roster situation.
“We have six goalies,” Fitzpatrick said. “That will be a challenge in and of itself.
“We have a few talented forwards and a couple of defensemen who can play with the best of them. The rest of it, we’ll have to piece together. We have some big kids, and some of the freshmen have been impressive. It should be a good season.”
Fitzpatrick and his father own All Points Insurance in Brewer and Old Town.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love insurance. But when I sit at my desk, I really look forward to practice,” said Fitzpatrick, who graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in business in 2011.
Fitzpatrick has been refereeing since he was “10 or 11 years old” and began officiating high school games after he graduated from Brewer High School in 2007.
He won’t be able to referee Class B games but still could work Class A games.
“I’m contemplating that,” he said.
The Crusaders, who also draw hockey players from Bangor Christian and Mount Desert Island High School, open the season against Lake Region/Fryeburg Academy/Oxford Hills at Bridgton Academy on Dec. 7.