By Dave Leaderhouse
FISKE STAYING POSITIVE AFTER SEASON OFFERS PLENTY OF LESSONS TO BUILD FROM
Bryce Fiske says he is ready for what the future has in store for him; a season like the one he has experienced with the La Ronge Ice Wolves will do that for you.
With just over half the schedule in the books, Fiske and his teammates have played under three different coaches, had one assistant coach quit and relocate to another team and the losses have piled up to the point where it is going to take a major winning streak to get back into the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff hunt.
Still, the 19-year-old Fiske is optimistic and frankly, quite positive, about the whole experience.
“I talk a lot around the room and try and make everyone feel at home,” says Fiske. “I think I have grown a lot, not just as a player, but as a human too. I think with a leadership role I have to keep my cool and try and keep everything in line.”
His newest coach, Evan Vossen, says he relies on the 19-year-old defenceman in many ways.
“For a guy that is just 19 he is a great leader at that age,” says Vossen, who took over the head coaching and general manager duties in early November after Shawn Martin was relieved of his duties in October. Eric Bell had filled in until Vossen was hired on with the team.
“He comes from the community and knows the organization,” added Vossen. “That is a huge bonus, not just for myself, but for the guys in the dressing room.”
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Fiske is in his third year with his hometown Ice Wolves, and despite the struggles by the team as a whole, he is on pace to have his most productive season. Through 30 games, Fiske had four goals and 10 assists where last year in 57 games he posted 4-20-24 totals. His rookie season saw him dress in 52 games and accumulate two goals and five helpers.
Vossen says in his short time with the club he has picked up on several key qualities in Fiske as a player.
“He is a big body and plays both ends of the rink real well,” notes Vossen. “He has that offensive side, but he is defensively very responsible and that is not an easy thing to find.”
“I think he is just starting to come into his own and develop as a solid junior hockey player,” adds Vossen. “It will be interesting to see how he progresses in the next year and a half and how far he develops.”
His development has been consistent throughout his career having made a Midget AAA squad when he was just 15 and then getting a brief audition with the Ice Wolves when he was 16. He says that helping turnaround the club this year is his main focus, but he says he is also looking ahead as well.
“Schooling is first,” admits Fiske, who says he has written the SAT exam, but plans to re-do it to get a better grade. “I would like to go to an NCAA school and then see where the game takes me after that.”
With his father being a business owner he says that area interests him, but for now he just wants to continue getting better as a player. Vossen is more than happy to have that kind of a player on his team.
“I told them (the team) when I got here that I was never with a team that had a coaching change either so it was a little bit of learning on both sides,” says Vossen.
“It’s a tough situation the way the season has gone, but right now we are just coming to the rink and working hard; that’s all you can control. We want to get some positivity back in the dressing room and make it fun to come to the rink again.”
With Fiske on his side, the first building block is firmly in place.
View his stats here http://sjhl.hockeytech.com/player?playerId=1621&season=29