Friday, December 1, 2006

Rory Fitzpatrick: NHL All-Star?

By Chad Kettner

This year, the NHL has decided to change up the way it handles it's all-star voting. Instead of only allowing a restricted number of votes from each online IP address, it has decided to let the fans go crazy and vote as many times as they want to as part of their "Click to Vote" campaign. The NHL, however, did not expect the fans to react like this.

Rory Fitzpatrick, a relatively unknown and unspectacular defenseman for the Vancouver Canucks, is currently No. 12 in the all-star voting, with 31,310 votes, according to the official website of the NHL. He is the only "write-in candidate" of recent history to receive any noticeable fan recognition. The case for Fitzpatrick, who would normally only receive the votes of family members and perhaps a few of his close friends, all started on an Internet message board called

A man by the moniker "lecherous" posted the idea on November 19 stating: "if we vote in the one player who probably deserves it the least, imagine the awesomeness that would come from that."

The idea has now spread to the point that there are YouTube videos supporting the cause, fans holding up "Vote for Rory" signs in stadiums across the NHL, and even media outlets in Canada and the United States picking up the story and interviewing the originator. has also been created to provide updates on the campaign.

The concept started out with fans trying to prove that the NHL voting policy was bogus, but it has now grown to the point where many truly believe that stuffing the ballots with Fitzpatrick's name is a just cause to support a hard-working athlete as opposed to a naturally gifted one.

Fitzpatrick is deep in the Canucks defensive depth chart and has yet to record a point in 16 games this season. He has been a longtime journeyman in the NHL and always earned the respect of those around him by trying his hardest every time he has stepped on the ice. He first turned heads this year by winning the Vancouver Canucks' shooting accuracy competition in their 2006 SuperSkills event earlier this month. Now he is turning them one more time.

Fitzpatrick currently trails the leading vote-receiving defensemen, Scott Niedermayer and Nicklas Lidstrom, by nearly 200,000 votes each. However, the ball has just started rolling in the "Vote for Rory" campaign.

Upon hearing the news of the internet movement to get him in the event, Fitzpatrick told the Vancouver Daily Province that he was getting a kick out of all the attention. "You have to give credit to the people who have put it all together. They did a great job. It's pretty funny."

If fans continue to prove the power of mass communication and the internet, then Fitzpatrick truly does stand a chance to make the big game. Not only would Rory Fitzpatrick represent the Vancouver Canucks in Dallas, home of the event, but he would also be representing the "Average Joe's" of this world.

"Vote for Rory" represents everything that is pure and noble in an market that hypes big named players and the gifted athletes that put up all the stats. Fitzpatrick is just a regular hard-working guy who is trying his best without recognition day in and day out.

Why not recognize him for his efforts? The All-Star Game is all about showing the fans what they want to see. Why not choose to see perseverance for a change? Vote for Rory and make a difference.

"If I'm going to get it," Fitzpatrick laughed, "I'm going to need a lot of help, that's for sure."

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