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UBC Thunderbirds Mathea Fischer (L), and Ireland Perrott (R) at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, March 27, 2018.

VANCOUVER, B.C – The Canada West campaign is long finished, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hockey to be played. As we know, the fifth season is always hockey, and that holds true to form even in the Canada West and USports offseason.

UBC Thunderbirds forward Mathea Fischer, is gearing up to represent Norway at the 2018 IIHF Women’s World Championship. The six team tournament takes place in Vaujany, France from April 8 – 14.

“I’m really excited, it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Fischer said. “I’m really excited to be back with the girls. I’m feeling good, I’ve been skating a lot lately, so hopefully I’m ready to go.”

Fischer, and Team Norway will play Austria, Hungary, Denmark, Slovakia and France.

Each team will play each other once. The team that finishes at the top of the standings earns the chance to compete at the 2019 World Championship tournament in Finland. That tournament will be the first edition to include 10 teams, including, Canada, U.S.A, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, Czech Republic, and Japan.

“We have a good chance this year to come out with a medal, and maybe even make it to the top-level if we win this,” said Fischer. “We’re really excited. I think for all of us, it’s a really big deal. We’ve been preparing for this for a long time, and for our families as well. It’s a good opportunity for us.” Fischer said before flying off to join up with Team Norway.

While Norway has a strong shot at winning the tournament and earning that coveted spot among the elites in women’s hockey. The third year Thunderbird already knows which opponent could potentially cause some trouble for Norway.

“Right now it’s Austria,” Fischer revealed. “That’s our biggest threat for this tournament.”

Norway has never made it to the big hockey dance. If Norway are able to achieve this feat it would open new doors for hockey in Norway. The team would garner more media, fans, growth, and overall exposure for women’s hockey back home.

“That’s been a goal for us for a long time.” Fischer admitted. “We’ve been close. We have a couple of silver medals in the past, and we had some bronze. We’ve been working really hard to get there, and I think for all the girls, it’s a big challenge for sure, but it’s really exciting. It would mean a lot to the veterans, as well as the younger players if we could do that.”

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UBC Thunderbirds forward Mathea Fischer following practice at Father David Bauer Arena on November 29, 2016.

Not only does opportunity allow Fischer more time to play hockey on an international stage, but it also keeps her in peak condition for next fall with the UBC Thunderbirds. There always a fine line between balancing hockey, exams, family, friends, and mental health. Fischer has the full support of UBC Thunderbirds Head Coach Graham Thomas.

“What I love about these experiences for Mathea, she learns to play in big, big situations, must win games against big competition, in a highly competitive environment. You can’t put a price tag on those experiences. It’s so good for her development just on the mental side of it, to be able to play in must win games for her country. It’s like playoffs, these short-term competitions. It’s great for us, because she gets experience playing in those big time games, which are very similar to what we want our players to be playing confident in those types of environments.” said Thomas.

Exams can always wait. This is a wonderful chance to experience a big time tournament with a lot to play for, and a massive reward. Any athlete will tell you they dream of representing their country. It’s not Fischer’s first time with Norway, but it means just as much.

“It’s a big honour to represent my country.” Fischer said glowingly. “I’ve had some great experiences in the past. I think also coming back for next season playing for UBC, this could help me grow as a player and bring back experience that hopefully can be valuable for next season, and the playoffs.”

Spoken like a true hockey player, Fischer already has UBC on her mind as she is a world away with Norway looking to cause upsets, make waves, and win at all costs.

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