(WYTV) – On Friday, the National Hockey League’s newest team added a familiar face to their broadcast team, and this former Youngstown Phantom is making history by taking his talents to the pros.
As a freshman at Bowling Green State University, Everett Fitzhugh called his first hockey game, and he was hooked.
“I just fell in love with it,” Fitzhugh said. “I put all my eggs in the hockey basket.”
On Friday, Fitzhugh was named the face and voice of the Seattle Kraken, the National Hockey League’s newest franchise.
Fitzhugh will become the first full-time Black play-by-play broadcaster in the NHL.
“I’ve had this NHL goal, this NHL dream of mine since I was 18 in college, so it means a lot to me to be able to be the first,” Fitzhugh said.
He grew up in Detroit as a Red Wings fan and got his start in broadcasting with Bowling Green’s hockey team. He went on to work with the United State Hockey League’s office, and since 2015, Fitzhugh has been the Cincinnati Cyclones, a double A affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres.
However, from 2014 to 2015, Fitzhugh was in Youngstown with the Phantoms.
“2014 to 2015, that team won 17 in a row, which is still a tier one junior hockey record. We had Kyle Connor on that team, who ended up going in the top 15, I believe, in the NHL draft. So, that was a really good team. That was a really fun team to be a part of,” Fitzhugh said.
Fitzhugh spent only a year here at the Covelli Centre with the Phantoms, but he says that, to this day, he still has so much love for the Mahoning Valley.
“I’ve said this about every stop I’ve been in because everywhere plays a huge part in your development, but without Youngstown, this doesn’t happen,” he said.
Some of Fitzhugh’s favorite memories from his time in the Valley are Friday night football games at Austintown Fitch High School and catching a couple Scrappers’ games up at Eastwood Field.
But what does he miss most about Youngstown?
“Youngstown has the best french fries I’ve ever had in my entire life. I don’t care what you say,” he said.
Fitzhugh says his passion for hockey runs deep and that his goal was to never be a trailblazer for the sport of hockey, but he is proud that he may be able to inspire anyone who has big dreams like he had.
“The more people of color and the more representative of our population that hockey looks like, I think the better,” Fitzhugh said.
Fitzhugh and the Seattle Kraken will begin their season in 2021.