Christian Fischer will never make an official appearance for the Notre Dame hockey program.
Days before classes for the fall semester are set to begin, Fischer announced Thursday he would forego his college eligibility in favor of signing an entry-level contract with the Arizona Coyotes. Arizona selected Fischer, a winger from Wayne, Ill., at No. 32 overall in the June draft.
“Just felt I was ready to turn pro,” Fischer told Irish Illustrated in a text message.
Fischer originally committed to Notre Dame early in his high school career. He later joined the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., and blossomed into an elite pro prospect while remaining on track for college.
He won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2015 Under-18 World Junior Championship. Last season he scored 31 goals and added 33 assists in 66 games for the USNTDP in all competitions.
Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson hoped to drop Fischer right into the mix as a freshman goal scorer, particularly in front of the net. Instead Jackson will be looking to replace a second round draft pick in short order.
“While the timing is certainly unfortunate, we have a great group of guys coming back along with a very strong freshman class,” Jackson said in a statement. “This situation will create an opportunity for our players to step up and fill a role. We wish Christian Well.”