Fans know him for his relentless, physical style of play.
But there is another side to Ottawa Senators centre Mike Fisher, another way in which he shows plenty of heart. During his nine seasons with the team, the native of Peterborough, Ont., has become a fixture in the community. It is a side of his life that brings the 28-year-old Fisher great fulfillment and joy.
His Mike Fisher Foundation works alongside Roger's House and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, doing whatever it can to improve the lives of children in the community. And children, as Fisher will tell you, hold a special place in his heart. It's a big reason why he launched the non-profit Mike Fisher Hockey Camp last summer, an endeavour he'll eagerly undertake again this July at the Ray Friel Centre in nearby Orleans, Ont.
Fisher took a few moments to talk about his relationship with the community and why Ottawa is more than just a place to play hockey.
Q: How did you start becoming so involved in the community?
A: The organization has always put a high emphasis on giving back to the community, starting with our president, Roy (Mlakar), and the management. And just getting a taste of getting involved and helping others felt good. You usually get more out of it than you put into it and it's something that I enjoy doing.
Q: How important is it in your life to be able to do that kind of thing?
A: It's huge. To be able to play in the NHL and live a dream and just have an impact... it's just something that I've enjoyed doing. I had people ahead of me to lead me and guide me. Those types of things are really important and an important part of my life, to help out others.
Q: Why is Roger's House such an important cause for you?
A: It's about knowing Roger and the type of person he was, and the values and his faith and those types of things... and then having gone through that process of the building and just seeing the impact it can have on the kids and some of the families that it's helped. It's not easy, there's no question, seeing kids go through some of the things they go through. But it's something that's needed to help out. It's for kids that are going through tough times and their families. And I love kids.
Q: Peterborough is your home but how much does Ottawa feel like home to you?
A: It's like a second home for me. It's my ninth year with the Senators and I've been here a long time. I have a lot of good friends and even relatives in the area. And home's not too far away, either. I love this city and I love playing here and being a part of it.
Q: All the proceeds from your Mike Fisher Hockey Camp are
donated to charity. How important was that for you when you started
setting it up?
A: If I was going to run a hockey school, I didn't want to benefit financially from it. I wanted it to be something that would allow me to give back through it. We had some great instructors and people to help out and a lot of companies chipped in, too, and were a big part of it. At the same time, we were able to raise a lot of money for Roger's House and Make A Wish. We had a great response the first year and we want to make it better in some areas and improve it and continue to grow it.