Ryan Fitzgerald is following in his father’s footsteps, and living a childhood dream.
The 18-year-old joked on Sunday that he already “felt” the texts coming through from friends and family members, congratulating him on what truly was a perfect script.
Fitzgerald, son of ex-Bruin Tom Fitzgerald, was drafted by Boston at No. 120 in the fourth round of the NHL draft on Sunday in Newark. He was one of 12 New England-born players selected in the seven rounds.
For Fitzgerald, a North Reading native who is committed to play at Boston College, the chance to play for the team he grew up rooting for was the stuff of fairy tales.
“It’s definitely something special,” the 5-foot-9-inch, 170-pound center said.
Fitzgerald skated for the Valley Junior Warriors of the Eastern Junior Hockey League this past season. In three previous seasons at Malden Catholic, Fitzgerald won back-to-back Super 8 championships with the Lancers. He won the John Carlton Award, given annually by the Bruins to the top student hockey player in the Boston area.
Fitzgerald wasn’t the only local player the Bruins selected.
Wiley Sherman, a Greenwich, Conn., native, was selected by Boston in the fifth round. The 6-6, 206-pound defenseman played for Hotchkiss this past season.
“It’s so special,” said Sherman, who is committed to Harvard. “I’ve watched Bruins games all year.”
For the third consecutive year, there were no first-round picks from New England. In fact, the beginning of this draft didn’t feature an American flair at all.
Of the first 30 players chosen, 18 were Canadian and nine were European. Only two first-rounders were born in the United States (Texas native Seth Jones at No. 4 and Illinois product Ryan Hartman at No. 30).
The first New England-born player chosen was North Branford, Conn., native Adam Erne at No. 33 to Tampa Bay. Two years ago, Erne turned down Boston University to play in the prestigious Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. His coach there was Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, now coach of the Colorado Avalanche.
Erne, 18, led the Quebec Remparts in scoring this past season with 72 points (28 goals, 44 assists). He is 6-1, 200 pounds — a classic power forward with explosive speed.
BC commit Zach Sanford was selected by Washington at No. 61, the last pick of the second round. The Auburn, N.H., native is a 6-3, 185-pound left wing who attended Pinkerton Academy.
John Hayden of Greenwich, Conn., was picked at No. 74 by Chicago. Hayden, a center, will play at Yale.
In the fourth round, Miles Wood of Manchester was selected at No. 100 by the Devils — the first Massachusetts-born player off the board.
He was followed by defenseman Ryan Segalla of Greenwich, Conn., at No. 119 (Penguins) and Fitzgerald at No. 120.
In the fifth round, West Roxbury’s Anthony Florentino was selected at No. 143 by Buffalo, followed by Sherman at No. 150.
In the sixth round, Duxbury’s Tim Harrison was selected by Calgary, Winthrop’s Chris LeBlanc went to Ottawa, Proctor Academy graduate Merrick Madsen went to Philadelphia, and North Andover’s Brian Pinho, who played at St. John’s Prep, was chosen by Washington.