By the time Logan Fisher left the Red Deer Optimist Rebels Chiefs he was ready to take the next step.
While he was solid on the offensive side the native of Red Deer had all the ingredients on the defensive side of the game to impress any Western Hockey League coach.
He certainly impressed Victoria Royals head coach Dave Lowry.
“He was a bit of an unknown coming in this year, although every year there’s a couple of surprises,” said Lowry. “We knew he was a grad of a program that had success in Red Deer and when you’re looking to build a team you’re looking to add players with that type of pedigree. He has been a real pleasant surprise.
“He’s a versatile player and very dependable on both sides of the puck, which is a real asset for a young player moving forward. We use him taking faceoffs and killing penalties and we’re comfortable using him on both sides. He’s the type of player you win with.
“You may not notice him on the scoresheet, but what he does ends up in wins.”
Fisher was one of the premier two-way players in the Alberta Midget Hockey League last season and a key performer during the Rebels run to the national championship.
He learned the defensive side of the game coming up through the Red Deer minor hockey system.
“It was always something I focused on,” he said. “Defending was always first which helps create offensive chances. I brought that with me to the next level. It’s helped as I’m taking a lot of faceoffs and killing penalties . . . it’s been good. In fact it’s been nothing but a good experience.”
Fisher did all that for the Rebels and head coach Doug Quinn.
“Logan was a top player for me,” said Quinn. “He was really strong defensively and was one of our hardest workers. He did everything. He was good in the face off circle, a good forechecker and strong in the defensive zone. I double shifted him a lot and he had the physical stamina and strength to play in all situations.”
Quinn felt the six-foot-two, 175-pound 17-year-old would make the jump to the WHL this season.
“I was certain he would. He had the size and strength and the hockey knowledge to play an important role for any team. He likely wouldn’t be a top scorer, but he’s very responsible defensively and a hard guy to play against, something every team, no matter what level, needs.”
Fisher indicated Quinn was one of the coaches who influenced him the most along with his dad, Barkley, and Byron Feser.
Fisher has been taking a regular spot on the third and fourth lines with the Royals and has two goals and five assists in 33 games. He scored his first goal in his first game.
“An empty netter,” he said. ‘We were killing a penalty late and the guy stepped out of the box and they had their goalie pulled. It was good to get it right away so there wasn’t that monkey on my back.”
Fisher looks back at his minor hockey career with pride and a little excitement when looking at his final midget game — a 6-5 double overtime victory over the Phénix du College Esther-Blondin of Quebec in the Telus Cup final.
That was a game that saw the Rebels score four third period goals to force overtime. It was something that Fisher took with him to the Royals.
“The exposure I received at that championship was definitely a benefit as we played against the top players and the top teams from across Canada,” he said. “It was a good measuring stick for what I needed to do to go on. Also the comeback was special. We always had confidence in the team and in each other and being able to pull that off helps the confidence going to the next level. It shows what you can do when you believe in yourself and in each other.”
Fisher is taking his Grade 12 and has plenty of time while on the bus to get his school work done.
“That’s one of the tough things as we have long road trips as we need to take the ferry from the island every time and that’s an hour and a half,” he said. “I have time to do some homework and get caught up,”
He’s getting used to the time on the bus while he already is used to the difference between midget and junior.
“You could definitely see the difference in the pace of the game and size of everyone,” said Fisher, who has at least two more years in the league. Following that who knows.
“Down the road I definitely would like to continue on in hockey,” he said.
“But right now I’m concentrating on finishing this year strong and helping the team win.”