American hockey recently celebrated the 33rd anniversary of the Miracle on Ice. The infamous Winter Olympic game in 1980 whereby a bunch of college kids achieved the unthinkable by defeating a powerful Soviet team in Lake Placid, NY. The triumph was so remarkable that a movie was made in 2004 popularizing many of the team members, although one in particular -- OC. Jack O' Callahan was a rugged rearguard hailing from the tough neighborhood of Charlestown, MA. A standout at Boston University his character was immediately loved. If anybody has been involved in the Beantown hockey scene over the years another hockey name is synonymous as well with Boston's oldest neighborhood -- Fidler.
The three brothers of Joe, Mike, and Mark grew up in the '60s and '70s battling on the streets and rinks on the peninsula north of the Charles River across from downtown Boston. The oldest Joe went onto play his college hockey at Boston College, but would later transfer to Northeastern. Mike was in the middle and attended Boston University on scholarship only to be one of the first collegiate hockey players to leave school early and sign a pro contract. He would then pull on the sweaters of the Cleveland Barons, Minnesota North Stars, Hartford Whalers, and Chicago Blackhawks. Finally came the youngest, Mark, who followed his brother to BU and won a national title as a freshman along with a couple of Beanpot crowns to his name. He also still sits as one of the Terriers top ten point getters of all-time collecting 178 points in only 101 games played.
Not to mention a Fidler cousin, Vic, who is Elmira College's (ECAC West) record holder for penalty minutes after his four-year career with the Soaring Eagles during the mid '90s.
So when the Fidler name is mentioned nowdays around the hockey rinks, there is no doubt talent and toughness are the first adjectives that come to mind. Today a new generation of Fidler is closing out his standout prep school career at the Dexter School. Mark's son, Trevor, attends the independent day school whose most notable alumnus is only the 35th President of the United States of America -- John F. Kennedy.
Trevor is well aware of his father and uncle's accomplishments on the ice though simply plays at game that he enjoys.
"Yeah... I felt a little bit of pressure but I play because I love the game. Not to meet any standards. I always had a dream to play college hockey so I just followed that throughout my career", the Harvard recruit quipped.
Fidler is set to take his game to the ECAC Hockey ranks in Cambridge with the Crimson in the Fall of 2014. He was pursued by other big-name schools though he mentioned it was an easy choice as soon as Harvard came calling.
Fidler added, "I love the coaching staff and the hockey is great as well." He hopes to pursue a degree in business and entrepreneurship.
Last season as a junior he really showed his true colors and skills, breaking out for 55 points and 24 goals in just 26 games. Although Fidler feels he is even a more rounded player this season than last year.
The 1995-born, Watertown, MA native credits his teammates and the coaching staff over the last four years at Dexter for making him a better player both on and off the ice.
"I was lucky to have good leadership through not only my coaches, but also my upper classmen, which helped shape me. Both the hockey and personal lessons I learned on this team are definitely my greatest take-away."
You can certainly tell Fidler has been a good student of the game as he has established himself as one of the top prep school players in New England and almost certainly has led his team to an Elite 8 playoff birth. Dexter currently owns an impressive 21-1-5 record. Fidler has not been too shabby himself in those 27 games, amassing 19 goals and 35 assists for 54 points.
"It will be exciting to see how the playoffs go. We are heating up at the right time and that’s what most teams need to win the championship", stated the senior forward.
My initial viewing the speedy forward came last summer at USA Hockey's Select 17 Camp in Rochester, NY. A bit undersized though plays big in heart by utilizing his quickness in creating space and challenging defenders one-on-one. He showcased some nice offensive skills, vision, and stick handling abilities, though also was not afraid to work the dirty areas as did not shy away from the physical play, and played with a lot of drive and determination. He is a solid two-way player who is at his best when the puck is on his stick.
At Dexter under Dan Donato he has been developing his game with continued progress on the defensive side of play and doing the little things away from the puck to improve his overall game.
Although the NHL's Central Scouting Services (CSS) omitted him from their 2013 mid-term rankings, Fidler does not seem to be phased.
"I can not really control how they portray me as a player but I am not going to worry about it too much. Being drafted is also a dream of mine ever since I was little. I am just going to keep playing my game and see what happens."
For now he is concentrating on leading his school to the New England Prep Championship as plans for next season are still a bit up in the air. While he was a third round selection last year to the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL, the Boston area may just see him around its arenas again.
He spoke on his plans, "I am not 100% sure yet but I am keeping my options open. With two brothers and a sister we are all really close, so I am keeping my family in mind as well. Staying around Boston and playing is what I am leaning towards so far."
He acknowledges his former youth hockey coach, Neil Shea, of the South Shore Kings organization with helping him improve his game. Although it is his dad, of course, that exposed him to the game and who he credits the most in teaching him.
"At a young age he was teaching stuff that other kids would learn in their early teens. He also taught me where to go without the puck which was hard to grasp. But overall what I remember most is him always telling me to keep your feet moving.", uttered the younger Fidler.
"He was the best dad anyone could ask for when it came to teaching me about hockey."
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