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Once Rivals, Now Friends

Fischer, Bissonnette recall AHL moment between Coyotes, Kings affiliates

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

Christian Fischer and Paul Bissonnette obviously will be on the same team Saturday night when the Coyotes face off against the Kings.

Fischer, of course, will be on the ice, while Bissonnette saddles up for another night in the FOX Sports Arizona broadcast booth.

But it wasn't so long ago that the two were opponents. Fischer was a rookie with the Coyotes' AHL Tucson Roadrunners; Bissonnette was enjoying a final dance with the Ontario Reign, the AHL counterpart of the Kings.

The date was December 9, 2016.

Fischer was in the midst of a 47-point (20G, 27A) season with the Roadrunners and scored the overtime, game-winning goal to beat Bissonnette's Reign.

(Fischer was named to the AHL All-Star Game that season; Bissonnette won the Calder Cup two seasons prior with then-Los Angeles affiliate Manchester Monarchs.)

Fischer got down on one knee and slid past the Reign bench with a bow-and-arrow celebration that set off a post-game melee in the neutral zone.

Fisher's display didn't sit well with Ontario players, including Bissonnette.

"We didn't start off as friends," Bissonnette said, two years after the matter. "We started off with (Fischer) terrorizing me in the American Hockey League when (he) shot the bow and arrow right into my heart as I was on the bench - middle of the bench, of course."

"I'm pretty sure (Biz) came off the bench trying to spear me in the face," Fischer said. "So, that was probably not the best celebration. I think I got caught up in a lot of emotions that game, but he forgave me. We had a nice little truce."

It took a couple years until the two addressed it, face to face.

"I totally forgot about (it)," Fischer said. "But he brought it up to me like a year or two ago, saying something about that. We've made amends. Yeah, I don't think I'm going to be doing that. That was a little overboard on that celebration. That's something like (Garland) would do. That's definitely a 'G' type of celebration."

Garland also was in his first pro season; he was on the bench when Fischer scored.

"Biz actually cross-checked me because I was the last to the pile," Garland said. "I was in the middle of the bench. I tried to jump over (the boards) and got caught. So, I had to walk out the door. Me and Jarred Tinordi were the last two out and Biz gave me a cross-check in the back because Fisch threw a bow-and-arrow in their bench. So, I got the brunt of it.

"They were not pleased with Fisch."

Garland recalls the mixed reactions in the Roadrunners dressing room.

"I remember in the locker room, the older guys," Garland said. "We were all celebrating -- us young guys. We were all happy we won. All the older guys were mad at Fisch. It was funny. It was funny. He got in some heat for that. But it is what it is."

Fischer didn't let the adversity affect his play. He scored the overtime, game-winning goal in the Roadrunners' next game. His goal notched the first hat trick in Roadrunners history. 

"He scored the next game in San Antonio, in overtime as well," Garland recalled. "And it was a hat trick. He didn't celebrate at all. So, he learned his lesson."

And he did learn this, too: "I was very scared of Paul Bissonnette for the remainder of that season," Fischer said.

"I'm just glad that we're good friends now."

Lead Photo Credits: Kate Dibildox - Tucson Roadrunners // Second Photo Credits (Montage): Kate Dibildox - Tucson Roadrunners // Third Photo Credit: Kate Dibildox - Tucson Roadrunners // Footer Photo Credit: Kate Dibildox - Tucson Roadrunners

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