You only have one chance to make a good first impression, and University of Minnesota defenseman David Fischer certainly knows how to get off on the right foot.
Shortly after he was selected by the Montreal Canadiens with the 20th overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Fischer came under fire by a swarm of media members from his new NHL club.
“They set you up on a little podium, so all the guys have microphones in your face,” said Fischer. “I was number 9 in high school, and they said, ‘Well, Mr. Fischer, there’s probably not a good chance you’ll be wearing No. 9 in Montreal. Do you know why that is?’ Every other day I would be thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, why not?’”
But Fischer was able to quickly come up with a response that pleased the media. That answer, of course, was that the number previously belonged to Montreal legend Maurice Richard and has been retired in his name. Either by fate or random coincidence, Fischer, who considers himself somewhat of a hockey history buff, had just been reading up on Richard a few days earlier.
“I just remember everyone being very impressed, because it could have been ugly with them putting me on the spot there. I was pretty pleased with myself.”
Always a student of the game – and an astute one at that – the puck-moving blueliner takes that same calm and collected approach on the ice. It may be out of necessity too, because Fischer has been in the spotlight for some time.
After earning Minnesota’s prestigious “Mr. Hockey” award as a senior at Apple Valley (Minn.) High School, he was drafted by Montreal just prior to the beginning of his freshman year at Minnesota.
“Obviously I have yet to be totally immersed into the Montreal media and the craziness, but Minnesota is a pretty high profile organization as far as hockey goes,” said Fischer, who played in 87 games during his first two years with the Gophers.
“I try not to stress too much about the media and interviews and stuff like that, what the papers are saying. If you do that, you’re just going to get caught up in it and worry about what people are thinking.
“When that day comes, I’ll just have to take what they say with humility and a grain of salt, and just worry about what I’m doing on and off the ice.”
Now in his junior season with the Gophers, Fischer is focusing on developing his game in hopes of one day playing for one of the most storied NHL franchises.
To help inch himself closer to that dream, the defenseman not only approaches the game one day at a time, but also one skill at a time. After a freshman year at Minnesota that proved to be somewhat frustrating during stretches, Fischer has begun keying in on one skill each week in practice, a mindset that has allowed him to gain a better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses as a player.
“You’re the best player on your team in high school, but I knew I had a lot of learning to do when I got here,” said Fischer.
“There were times where I might have been down on myself mentally, but it just builds character. It sounds cliché, but I just try to focus on getting better every day. So far I think I’ve done really well in that regard, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year and the future as well.”
With such an attitude and demeanor, the future looks bright for Fischer.
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