Jul 10, 2023

Utica, NY— Utica Comets General Manager, Dan MacKinnon, announced today that the team has signed three players for the upcoming 2023-2024 season including forward Ryan Fitzgerald to a one-way AHL contract along with forwards Yushiroh Hirano and Eric Cooley to a two-way AHL contracts. 

Fitzgerald, 28, played the last three seasons with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Fitzgerald played 13 games scoring one goal and one assist for two points in 13 games during the 2022-23 campaign for the Phantoms. The 5-foot-9, 172-pound left-shot forward, played four seasons of NCAA Division I hockey at Boston College where he scored 66 goals and 66 assists for 132 points in 152 games. Fitzgerald, who participated in the 2019 AHL All-Star Game, is the son of the New Jersey Devils Executive Vice President, General Manager, Tom Fitzgerald. 


Hirano, 27, hails from Tomakomai, Japan. Last season, he split his time between the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL) and the Abbotsford Canucks (AHL). Over three seasons he has played 49 AHL games scoring seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points. In his ECHL career he has skated in 156 games registering 52 goals and 83 assists for 135 points. The 6-foot-2, 216-pound right-shooting winger has represented his home country of Japan in international competition.


Cooley, 25, is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He played last season with both the Chicago Wolves (AHL) and the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL). The 5-foot-9, 185-pound right-shot winger played four seasons of NCAA hockey for Niagara University playing 165 games scoring 29 goals and 54 assists for 83 points. In 42 games in the ECHL he has amassed nine goals and 20 assists for 29 points while making an appearance in the ECHL All-Star Game. Cooley played seven games for Chicago last season and registered one assist during that time. 


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