The pride of Irma, Alberta, a multi-sport talent who excelled in the Ivy League with the Dartmouth Big Green, serving twice as team captain of the ice hockey team, Reagan Fischer took on the mantle of national hero in ball hockey. With gold medals from two ISBHF Women’s Worlds, the privilege of representing Canada took on greater significance in 2022.
Hosted in Laval, Quebec, marking the first time that Canada has taken on the role of host country in nine years, the excitement of home court advantage stirred strong feelings for Fischer. A veteran of numerous CBHA events, including the 2016 National championship, she had never played for Canada on home soil.
With eight points in seven games, Fischer’s finest performance included a brilliant five assist effort versus Lebanon. Among the tournament goals scored, perhaps the greatest of her career, took place in the gold medal game.
Opposing longtime rival Czech Republic, the defending gold medalists fell into a two goal deficit. With Canada having gone scoreless through the first 22 minutes of play, Fischer remedied the drought.
Finding the back of the net at the 22:25 mark, with Tournament MVP Carol-Ann Upshall earning the assist, it marked the first of three unanswered goals. Prevailing in a 3-2 final, from the thrill of a riveting comeback, capturing a second consecutive gold medal, the triumph occurring in Canada added to the emotion.
“Playing in front of a Canadian crowd was a true honour and incredible experience. The atmosphere and support of the crowd provided a buzz of anticipation that built throughout the gold medal game.
To mount a comeback in that kind of environment was truly special. In the second period, I was able to put our team on the scoreboard and it was special in front of that crowd and for that team!
As a team, we had been pushing hard after going down two goals in the first, so it was nice to break that bubble and feed the momentum we had already initiated. I think in that moment, it gave us the extra bit of belief we needed in ourselves to get the job done.”
After the 2021 edition of the ISBHF Worlds became another casualty on the sporting calendar of cancelled events, pandemic fears crippling so many facets of life, a return to international competitive play remained uncertain. Although some Canadian leagues had a condensed schedule in 2021, proving to be essential preparation, an understandable sense of unease lingered like a black cloud.
With comeback emerging as a theme once again, the staging of the ISBHF Worlds in 2022 saw the equilibrium restored. Fischer, along with fellow Ivy League alums Margaux Sharp, also a former Dartmouth teammate, plus Chelsea Karpenko, formerly of the Cornell Big Red, returned to the Canadian roster. All members of the 2019 world championship roster, a combination of appreciation and gratitude encompassed Fischer’s reflections.
“It was wonderful to return to tournament play and to reconvene with a similar group to the 2019 Gold Medal team. With Covid restrictions reduced in 2022, it gave many of us a chance to return to league play which helped with preparations for Worlds.”
While a significant number of familiar faces from the 2019 roster returned in 2022, providing a jubilant Fischer with a sense of reunion, the players debuting for Canada also made an impression.
Featuring seven new faces, Canada’s rookie class comprised a diverse tapestry. Including Genevieve Bannon and Corie Jacobson, former teammates from Clarkson University, Carly Blomberg, Shae-Lynn Clarke, Rebecca Ring, Emma Wilson plus goaltender Serena Vilde, their level of poise proved vital in another highly competitive tournament.
While the youthful looking Fischer took on the role of veteran with the 2022 edition of Team Canada, it marked a natural progression for such an accomplished competitor. Remarking about the quality of talent developed with a blend of optimism and praise, the next generation of talent have a tremendous role model in Fischer to emulate.
“A highlight for me was to repeat with the same core group that won a gold medal in 2019. In addition to the same core, we had a few young players join the team this year and it was really great to see that development and the kind of talent that is coming up through the CBHA. I was one of the older players this year, so that was definitely a shift in mentality and a role I really enjoyed.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”