Leeds Knights: Jordan Fisher determined to make fresh start count

HAVING spent almost his entire playing career in his home town, forward Jordan Fisher probably felt the recent demise of Hull Pirates more keenly than most.

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 7:00 am
Jordan Fisher, pictured playing for Hull Pirates against Leeds Chiefs back in February 2020. Picture: Dean Woolley.

This was, after all, a player who came through the city’s junior system, eventually working his way up to the Elite League with the Hull Stingrays before that team’s own downfall brought about the birth of the Pirates in 2015.

He went on to make over 220 appearances at various levels for the Pirates, including the long-defunct English Premier League, NIHL North One and, most recently, the inaugural 2019-20 campaign of the NIHL National league.

Under Pirates’ player-coach Jason Hewitt he flourished, his leadership qualities out on the ice proving enough to earn him the captaincy for a spell.

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LEAD ROLE: Dave Whistle, left, chats to his Leeds Knights players at last week's first practice.

But the decision by Pirates’ owner Shane Smith not to compete in the 2021-22 return of the UK’s second tier due to financial concerns brought about by the refurbishment of the city’s council-owned ice rink being behind schedule, has forced his players to seek ice time elsewhere.

Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Steeldogs have already announced four former Hull players – including Hewitt on a two-year deal – while highly-regarded centre Matty Davies has committed his immediate future to Leeds Knights.

Not all Pirates’ players will find a roster spot this coming season, some may even decide to call it a day, but Fisher is delighted to be joining Davies at Leeds – a move confirmed today.

And, while there is understandable sadness at the absence of the Pirates for the forthcoming campaign, Fisher is determined to make the most of what he regards as a “fresh start” at Elland Road.

FAMILIAR FACE: Jordan Fisher will be joining former Hull Pirates' team-mate Matthew Davies at Leeds Knights. Picture: Dean Woolley.

“You kind of saw it coming at Hull, you hear things from different people, so we had our doubts about it anyway,” said Fisher. “When we found out, I think we’d already prepared ourselves for it.

“But Hull have gone through this before with the Stingrays and I’d say for the fans, more than anyone, it’s far from great – it’s them that I really feel for in all of this.

“As players, we were absolutely dedicated to playing for that team, putting in the graft all the time and for it to be done just like that and to have nothing, was hard.

“But Leeds came up as an option and I am really looking forward to that.

“It feels like a fresh start for me. I know this is what everyone says when this sort of thing happens, but I’m really excited about it – I’ve not been this excited to start a season in a long while.

“I’m just looking forward to something new, to be honest. Now I’m with Leeds, I’m all in. It’s a great opportunity with a new team and a new coach in Dave Whistle and he’s someone I am really looking forward to playing for and learning from.

“When you look down the list of who we have got signed already, I’d definitely say we’re looking a good contender for the league and I don’t think any other team should take us lightly, it’s looking like we have a strong team.”

It is the leadership qualities displayed at Hull that partly convinced Knights’ head coach Dave Whistle to bring 27-year-old Fisher on board, particularly given the youthful feel to the bulk of his roster.

“Jordan is going to bring a lot of leadership to our team,” said Whistle. “He was Hull’s captain for a while and he has played a long time at this level.

“He plays a physical game, stands up for his team-mates and he’s going to be a real welcome addition.

“He’ll be a good, two-way player, a good, all-round player – probably one for the penalty kill, too.

“Talking to Matty Davies, it’s clear Jordan gives maximum effort every game and is prepared to do anything for his team to win – that’s exactly what you want your more experienced guys to be like.”