Wayne resident Christian Fischer is transferring from Wheaton Academy to Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., but he doesn’t consider himself a trailblazer.
Early uprooting goes with the territory for up-and-coming hockey players, and Fischer, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound forward, definitely counts in that group.
A recent commitment to the Ann Arbor-based USA Hockey Under-17 team, Fischer envisions the launch of something special before seeing this shot as anything else.
“I’ll definitely miss home a lot, but it’s also going to be a good opportunity,” he said. “It’s a great group out there and a chance to go farther in the game of hockey.”
Short of his address and yard, Fischer in many respects will bring home with him.
His parents, Sheryl and Mike, own separate businesses and often work from home, making renting a house in Michigan an easier proposition. The Fischers plan to split time at the house with the parents of teammate Matthew Tkachuk, whose father, Keith, was a top power forward for the Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues during a 19-year NHL career.
All the better influence for Fischer, who estimates he has grown 2 to 3 inches and added 10 to 15 pounds of muscle in the past year, prompting him to adjust his game accordingly.
“When I was younger, I could stick with the skill moves, but now that I’m bigger and stronger, I feel like I can get to the corners, protect the puck and drive to the net,” Fischer said.
Fischer elevated his play and received much of his travel exposure through the Woodridge-based Chicago Mission Midget Minor program. Longtime coach Chris Michael called Fischer “outstanding” and “special” and seems equally enthused about Fischer’s transition into the power game.
His new Team USA teammates – already familiar to Fischer through what amounts to an unofficial travel hockey fraternity – figure to be ready to complement his style, too.
Team USA officials began monitoring Fischer, a high school junior, about two seasons ago. He was invited to Ann Arbor for a top 40 age-group camp in March and committed to USA Hockey shortly thereafter.
Since then, he has shifted his focus to offseason conditioning as his spring tournament season wrapped up. Because he’s “on the skates every day during the season,” Fischer only does ice workouts about once a week, at whichever nearby rink has open time.
“Summer’s kind of my relax time with hockey,” Fischer said. “It’s almost a year-round thing. For the past two months, I’ve really just been laying low. Hanging out, working out, but really not doing too much.”
His schedule will intensify soon enough. Fischer leaves Aug. 26 for Ann Arbor, and has a collegiate career at Notre Dame in his sights after his Team USA experience.
“If you’re good enough, you’re going to end up moving away just because there isn’t as much elite-level hockey around Chicago,” Fischer said.
Bring on the travel and exposure.