International Ice Hockey Federation

Life after hockey

Life after hockey

NHL veteran Colin Fraser turns to finance

Published 24.12.2015 01:46 GMT+2 | Author Dhiren Mahiban
Life after hockey
Colin Fraser was playing at the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championship. Photo: Josh Holmberg / HHOF
In August 2004 Colin Fraser was one of 32 players participating at Canada’s summer selection camp in Calgary vying for a spot on the 2005 world junior team.

With the NHL lockout looming, and several would-be NHLers available to Canada for selection such as Jeff Carter, Ryan Getzlaf and Patrice Bergeron, the thought of Fraser making the team was a long shot at best.

It was then, as a 19-year-old that Fraser realized if he were to have a future in the game, he’d need to find a role on his team and do anything to get noticed.

Watching his Red Deer Rebels’ teammate Dion Phaneuf harassing Sidney Crosby during a scrimmage was something Fraser wasn’t going to tolerate. In an effort to get noticed, and earn a spot on the team, Fraser dropped the gloves with Phaneuf.

“He was picking on my teammate. He was absolutely he was,” recalled Fraser. “He was picking on my teammate so I just kind of, I dunno, same old stuff, I always try to stick up for teammates and that was it. I didn't really think it was going to turn into a fight.

“No friends on the ice. What happens on the ice, stays on the ice. (Dion and I) were buddies too.”

Phaneuf, now the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, remembers the incident well.

“Yeah, I fought him at world junior camp,” Phaneuf chuckled. “I got him with a good one, he had a black eye. He wasn’t too happy about it.”

Brent Sutter, not only the head coach of Canada, but also the coach and general manager of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, watching from the seats had to remind his players that fighting was prohibited at the international event.

“But it was summer camp. It was August,” Fraser recalled reasoning with his coach. “(Brent) was laughing at us basically saying that we're a couple knuckleheads. He was like 'I'm the coach and you two idiots are my players, and now you guys are fighting each other?’. It was funny. We were laughing though. We all had a good laugh.”

It was Fraser’s willing to do anything, which earned him a spot on the 2005 Canadian world junior team following a December 2004 camp in Winnipeg.

Fraser went on to score a goal and four assists in six games at the tournament in Grand Forks, North Dakota as Canada won gold for the first time in seven years.

The native of Surrey, British Columbia formally announced his retirement from professional hockey following a 17-game stint with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers in Germany.

A veteran of 359 NHL games, Fraser was a part of three Stanley Cup winning teams in Chicago (2010) and Los Angeles (2012 and 2014). He also had stops with the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues scoring 20 goals and 58 points while racking up 290 penalty minutes over parts of nine NHL seasons.

Originally a third-round selection (69th overall) of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2003, Fraser still refers to world junior experience as a turning point in his career.

“I didn't play in the NHL based on being the best skater or the best stick handler, it was strictly filling a role and working hard every day,” he said. “That was the same with World Juniors. I filled a role. There were probably better players than me that were left off the (world junior) team, if you want to go by the statistical standpoint, but I feel I filled a role that not a lot of other guys could.

“That's kind of how my whole career has gone.”

After being recalled by the St. Louis Blues just once last season, and spending a bulk of his time with the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves, the six-foot-one, 191-pound centre decided it was time to explore European opportunities.

He signed a one-year deal worth €88,000 in July, and along with his wife Carli and kids Calder (5) and Brielle (3) headed to Germany.

“It was good. I really liked it. I liked the lifestyle, it was a good experience - didn't know what to expect, but I enjoyed my time, I did. It had nothing to do with my decision (to retire),” he said. “I was just struggling with the game of hockey. I wasn't loving it. I enjoyed Germany, I enjoyed the team, I enjoyed guys, I liked the coaches and with all that being said, I was still not enjoying tying my skates up.

“You've got to play with passion, you've got to play with intensity and my style of play is a very emotional, energy type of game, even in the DEL. I felt like I was having a hard time getting up and getting excited and wanting to do it. On the outside, it doesn't look like that, but on the inside it was.”

Asked to choose a career highlight, Fraser didn’t hesitate pointing to the 2011/-12 season, his first in L.A., which saw him win his second Stanley Cup.

Fraser, who had been traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Kings while nursing a broken foot at the 2011 NHL Draft, had eight points in 67 regular season games. He added a goal and an assist in 18 playoff games.

“I guess just the whole way it went down, with a broken foot, not knowing if I was even going to be on the team and to going all the way to the Stanley Cup final and winning the Stanley Cup, you talk about your favourite moment that was my favourite moment there,” he said.

With the game behind him, Fraser is now focused on business.

Along with his financial advisor, Fraser plans on helping fellow hockey players deal with the financial rigors of playing the game.

“I'm going to be working on the relationship side of things recruiting or trying to recruit guys, talking to guys and telling them our story and what we do or what he does anyway as a financial planner,” Fraser said.

“There's a whole lifestyle aspect of it. It's hard (as a player), you're moving all the time, getting traded, you've got families, wives, kids, you've got houses, addresses all over the (continent). It’s kind of helping guys out with everything in their life as well as obviously financial planning.

“It's kind of all tied into one. Life planning and financial planning.”

Will he miss the game?

“You know what I'm going to miss is the camaraderie, hands down,” Fraser said. “I'm a guy's guy. I like the guys. I like a beer with the guys. I like trying to be funny anyway. I don't know if everyone thinks I'm funny, but trying to be funny, keeping it loose.

“I'm an intense guy, I like the competitiveness, but you ask any guy who retires, what does he miss? He misses the guys. That's ultimately what it boils down to and that's what I'm going to miss.”


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