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Sarah Fillier: Canada's Next Women's Hockey Star

Sarah Fillier's time has been coming for a few years now. With the way she's been playing in the early stages of the World Championship, she's already showing why she's one of the best young players in the game today.
Sarah Fillier

Sarah Fillier

If you're a women's hockey fan, you know just how good Sarah Fillier is already.

If you're not familiar with the 21-year-old, here's a bit of a recap. In both of her NCAA seasons to date, Fillier finished as a Patty Kazmaier Award finalist as the NCAA MVP with 57 points in both of her campaigns. Before that, she won silver and bronze at the U-18 level with Canada and finished third in PWHL scoring behind fellow top young Canadians Emma Maltais and Daryl Watts.

And now she's playing at the top women's level, with eyes on making Canada's roster for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Fillier's arrival with Team Canada comes after a challenging year for her, and the rest of women's hockey. Due to the pandemic, Princeton didn't play last season, resulting in Fillier returning to the Toronto area to train and stay ready for a potential World Championship roster spot with Team Canada. She made the team that was supposed to play in Nova Scotia, and despite the team preparing locally, the local government shut the event down just a day before the rest of the teams were set to fly in.

So, like she had done all year long, she was forced to wait around. But Fillier has taken full advantage

Just 21, Fillier is currently in the midst of her first World Championship and is making a big impact already. Despite Canada's deep offensive lineup, Fillier is already playing an integral role with the team with Melodie Daoust and Natalie Spooner on the team's second line.

And with two goals in two games, Fillier is already living up to the hype. 

"She's an amazing talent, but she puts in the work, she's prepared for this tournament and I'm excited to see what she can do along with the rest of the rookies," Brianne Jenner said earlier in the tournament.

Fillier is the youngest player on a team with an average age of 26.16, per Elite Prospects. She's one of three NCAA players in the lineup for the Canadians - Maltais and Ashton Bell are the others. Canada often brings a few NCAA players each year, but few rarely get the opportunities Fillier does.

"If she was playing pro, she'd already be a star," a women's hockey coach said. "She's got the tools any player would dream of: incredible hockey IQ, speed, a great shot. She's as close to pro-ready as you get in college."

It's not Fillier's first senior showing with Canada - she had a goal and an assist at the 2018 Four Nations Cup - but the time in the NCAA has definitely helped her develop into the player she is today. And with Canada's centralization roster ready to go, Fillier could be making her Olympic debut in China in a few month's time.

"She's ready," the coach said. "She's going to show what she's truly capable of there."

The Georgetown, Ont. native is already in such a great place in her career, and she isn't close to hitting the ceiling anytime soon. Fillier still has a few more years to go with Princeton before eventually turning pro, and with everything going on to help improve the women's pro landscape for the future, Fillier could be taking the next steps in her career at just the right time.

And at such a young age, Fillier has many, many, many more Olympic and World Championship appearances to go. As top Canadian stars Natalie Spooner, Marie-Philip Poulin and Brianne Jenner continue to get up there in age (they're all 30, so they're not THAT old, obviously), Fillier will be a key member of the next wave of Canadian star talent that should include Élizabeth Giguère, Loren Gabel, Daryl Watts, Victoria Bach and Maltais, among others.

This is just the start for Sarah Fillier.



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