Oilers captain honoured for decorum
Hockey: Robbie Fisher earns AJHL's Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy
Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 05:48 pm
When the Oilers took a flyer on an Ontario import three years ago they had no idea they were acquiring a two-year captain and the latest recipient of the Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy.
A lot can change in three seasons. Okotoks Oilers captain Robbie Fisher has transformed from unknown commodity to team ambassador for the Alberta Junior Hockey League squad.
“We don’t have much of a scouting reach in those areas and you scour the websites a little bit and he was a player who stood out with his stats,” said Oilers head coach James Poole on the unique recruitment of Fisher. “We sent out an invite and we were fortunate to get him in camp and realize we might have a diamond in the rough.
“We knew he was a quality player, but didn’t know the type of quality kid we were getting. It was a shot in the dark that turned out really well for us.”
The pride of Kenora, Ont. was recruited as a high-scoring offensive defenceman in 2011-12, but found himself behind the eight ball on a loaded group of blueline prospects for the Oilers. Facing an opportunity to be traded to play at his natural position or switch to forward and remain in Okotoks, Fisher sought the path of least resistance.
“I knew as soon as Poole called me into his office I wanted to stay here,” Fisher said. “The town, the fans, the guys in the dressing room, the coaches, everything, they made me want to stay.
“I said I’d do whatever it takes to stay and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Since then, the 20-year-old established himself as a hard-nosed forward with a penchant for creating havoc and offence near the blue paint, contributing 52 goals and 102 points in 170 games. He served as co-captain with Greg Lamoureux last season and has held the honour alone in 2013-14.
The Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy honours the late Stewart, a passionate Calgary area-fan who passed away in 1997, in recognition of his support and commitment to the sport. The award is given to the South Division player who best demonstrates the qualities of character, dedication, perseverance, integrity and sportsmanship.
“With Robbie he’s usually always the first to the rink and last to leave. He’s always over at Motion Fitness getting his workouts in,” said Poole, who nominated his captain for the award. “He leads the way in terms of doing all the right things off the ice and just the type of kid he is in terms of being a great teammate and a team-first guy.”
Fisher’s nomination came with a submitted letter outlining how he applies the aforementioned qualities both on and off the ice.
“I’m very honoured just to be nominated for the award. There is a lot of guys in that room that it could have gone to and even throughout the league,” Fisher said. “For me to win is a huge accomplishment and like I said in my letter I owe a lot to this organization.”
The 20-year-old takes his role as fearless team leader and community ambassador seriously, whether it’s volunteering at the Jail and Bail at Holy Trinity Academy or reading to elementary school children in Okotoks.
“I love everything that comes with it. I have fun in the dressing room and I think I just bring passion every day and I think it rubs off on the guys,” Fisher said. “I have no problem doing work in the community. I think it helps keep the team engaged, it gives us a little more exposure to get a few more fans in the rink.”
Fisher is the third Oiler to receive the trophy. Kyle Schussler took home the honour in 2007-08 as did former captain Derek Bacon, an ex-teammate of Fisher’s, in 2011-12.
“We take pride in that. We’ve had a lot of good kids come through this organization,” Poole said. “The three people that have won the award in the Oilers history are really quality individuals and you’re obviously proud of what they’ve done for the organization and it’s good to see them recognized for it.”
The gritty winger wasn’t the only Oiler to land league honours last week.
University of Denver-bound Tariq Hammond earned a spot on the South Division All-League Team. Freshman pivot Rhett Gardner (13 goals, 37 points in the regular season) was named to the South Division All-Rookie Team.
Elsewhere, sophomore winger John Edwardh took home player of the month honours for February. The Calgarian registered nine goals and 16 points in the month.
For more information on the awards go to ajhl.ca