Every four years the biggest event in women’s hockey comes and goes and makes superstars for almost every country that attends. Marie-Philip Poulin, Sarah Nurse, Hayley Wickenheiser, all of them propelled themselves into Canadian greatness and in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, there is a new name.
The rise of 21-year-old Sarah Fillier has been a quick turnaround. She competed in the U18 tournaments in 2017 and 18. But she only got her first callup to the senior’s team last year when she played in the Women’s World Championship in Calgary.
The Georgetown, ON. native is now having the best tournament of her life on the biggest stage. In the three games she has played so far, she has scored five times and has gained one assist. She is currently leading the tournament in goals.
Despite her coming up she has had more of a quiet teenage year than most. For the two years that she was in the U18 tournament, she only recorded four goals and four assists. She then signed with Princeton, a women’s program which has improved greatly in the past couple of years.
As a rookie Fillier dominated the NCAA with 22 goals and 35 assists to place her on top of her team for the greatest number of points at 57. She was accompanied by fellow rookie Canadian and St. John’s native Maggie Connors who got 43 points in the season. The team finished fourth in the ECAC Hockey Conference and made it to the NCAA tournament but was eliminated in the quarterfinals against Minnesota. She was the finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award which is given to the top collegiate player in the women’s league.
Although it was only her second year at Princeton, Fillier was awarded the captaincy and was going to be the leader of the team for the first time in the NCAA. In her second year, she tied her rookie season in goals with 22 in 31 games. She even tied the number of assists she had with 35 and finished the season with veteran Carly Bullock being the only player with more goals with 30. She was again a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award. Her season came to an abrupt halt when the NCAA tournament had to shut down because of Covid-19.
In her next season, she was supposed to play for Princeton again and be the captain of the team for the second year in a row. But the Ivy League would announce that they had cancelled all of their sports program for the 2020-21 NCAA sports season. This left Fillier without any team for the rest of the collegiate season. She got the chance to play on Team Canada’s roster against the U.S in the rivalry series that the two nations had newly made.
The IIHF Women’s World Championship was originally supposed to be played earlier in the year and in Halifax but because of Covid-19, the tournament had to be rescheduled and moved to the summer and to Calgary, AB. With three goals and three assists and being a huge contributor to the women’s gold medal at the tournament, she made a name for herself among the best in the sport.
Although it’s early in the tournament and her career, she is on pace to be a leader in women’s hockey. She will battle against the U.S and other nations that are continuing to grow the game. Wherever she goes, she will have many opportunities to represent the red and white of Canada.
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