A Williams Lake hockey product is taking her talents south of the border.
Hallie Fisher, who is currently playing for and captaining the Ontario Hockey Academy U19 Juniors, has committed to play for the Lady Lynx of Lindenwood University in Belleville, Illinois for the upcoming 2018/19 season.
Fisher spent her early career climbing the ranks of the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association. Then at 15 years old she jumped at an opportunity to move east to Ontario to play for the Timmins Falcons Midget ‘A’ team under Pete Montana, who was, at the time, her coach in Williams Lake for the Timberwolves, and had also moved east for a career opportunity.
Playing for the OHA Juniors this season of Cornwall, Ont., Fisher, a right winger who started playing hockey when she was seven years old, amassed 20 goals and 30 assists in 80 games. She led the team to a silver medal in the Eastern Women’s Hockey Conference. She also earned a 4.0 GPA and was recognized as an OHA honour student.
“I’m just so excited,” Fisher said. “Every time I think about it I don’t even know what to say.”
Fisher has been presented with an academic scholarship to the university, where she will be studying exercise science.
The university noticed Fisher during a tournament in Stoney Creek, Ont., where Canadian and U.S. scouts — upwards of 100 — attend the tournament.
“They all watch, then at the end they can come talk to you at your dressing room, or also e-mail you later,” Fisher said. “About a week later I got an e-mail from Lindenwood and they said they watched me play with my team, and said they really liked my play and would like the honour to have me a part of their team.
“I looked into it, they had the [academic] program I wanted, and I connected with the coach.”
Fisher describes her play-style as unselfish.
“I do whatever I can to help out,” she said. “If they need a goal, I’ll try to get that goal. If we get a penalty, I’ll go block those shots. I do what’s best for the team and help out the best I can.”
Of the opportunity to compete for the Lynx at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics level, Fisher said she can’t wait.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the culture of the team,” she said. “I have girls here I know at the school that have gone to visit and just said how welcoming they were, how much fun they had, and all the activities they did included them so much, so I can’t wait to see what the culture is there and get to know everybody.”
Lynx coach Kat Hannah said she’s excited for Fisher, known to her teammates as ‘Fish,’ to join the program.
“Hallie comes in with a great deal of maturity from captaining her junior team,” Hannah said. “She is a 200-foot player with a high compete level and always does what’s best for her team. She is definitely going to be an impact player for us next season and beyond.”
Montana, her current coach who has coached Fisher for the past four seasons between Williams Lake and Ontario, said he knows Fisher will be a strong addition to the Lynx.
“She came here and she excelled,” Montana said. “The program is designed to give the student athlete the best opportunity to be successful both academically and athletically and it was perfect for her. She’s just the kind of kid who was going to excel in this atmosphere and, athletically, she’s probably, having seen her since she was 14, the best player she’s ever been which has now translated into Lindenwood-Belleville.
“And based on what I know about that particular program and that coaching staff, I think she’ll do really well.”
Fisher, whose mom, younger brother and grandparents still live in Williams Lake, said she does miss her family, however, has her older brother in Ontario with her to keep her company.
“It was pretty crazy moving here at 15,” she said. “I do miss my family.”
And after hearing about the Williams Lake Midget Female Timberwolves’ provincial championship win last month, Fisher said she was thrilled.
“It was awesome,” she said. “I played with some of those girls in Williams Lake. They worked so hard and deserved it, and I was so happy for them. It’s so good for our program, and for our younger kids — they’ll aspire to be like that.”
Over her years playing hockey, she’s realized the special bond teammates create with one another. That hits home especially hard for Fisher after hearing about the tragedy last week involving the Humboldt Broncos after having made those bonds with teammates back in Williams Lake and, now, in Ontario.
“At our school we have eight different teams and eight buses,” Fisher said. “We’re on the road all season and the bus becomes kind of a second home.
“It’s such an unimaginable tragedy … my thoughts and prayers to all the families affected.”