Top News

Fraser ready for pro hockey debut tonight after roller coaster year


GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – It’s been a heck of a year for Dana Fraser – promising, painful, torturous, puzzling, hopeful, triumphant, heartbreaking and back to promising again. 

 

This time a year ago, the Tatamagouche native was on the outside looking in while what was supposed to be his first season of pro hockey started without him. A high ankle sprain put him on the shelf and kept him there while the Evansville IceMen waited desperately for the high-scoring forward to make his East Coast Hockey League debut.

He rushed back and was hurt again before he got to see a second of in-game action.

Tonight, in Elmira, N.Y., Fraser will finally get to play that first game.

“That’s life, man,” the 26-year-old said. “One door closes, another one opens.”

Fraser’s path after Evansville has been well documented. He headed home to heal, picked up a roster spot with the UNB Varsity Reds – a controversial move at his alma mater of UPEI – and won an Atlantic championship. Fraser’s student-athlete eligibility ended three goals short of a national championship in his home province. 

Despite coming just short of his goal, Fraser was playing better hockey than ever before and things were once again looking up. The offers came pouring in.

He wanted a guaranteed roster spot and a tryout in the American Hockey League, two things he found with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL. His mind was made up – he was heading to Upstate New York.

“It’s very similar to where I’m from,” he said of the Thunder’s base in the Adirondack region. “We’re up here in the mountains in a nice little town. It reminds me of home, so that helps.”

Also helping ease into the pro transition is the group around him. After a massive shakeup in the AHL, several ECHL teams were required to move. Adirondack, the home of the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate last year, became the ECHL affiliate instead. In a sense, everybody is new, not just Fraser.

The changes are a lot to deal with, but the feeling of just being part of a team remains the same.

“Everybody here is a pro. Everyone here has been through this before so that makes it a lot easier when everyone knows what you’re going through,” Fraser said.

As part of his deal, Fraser spent one game with the Stockton Heat of the AHL. He posted an assist and a +2 rating before being sent back to Adirondack.

“It was a lot different than anything I’m used to. There were guys there who have spent time in the NHL – I’m from Tatamagouche, I grew up without ever meeting anyone from the NHL.”

Fraser will start out as a bottom-six forward, but hopes to work his way up quickly. After so many ups and downs last year, he hopes it’s all up from here.

“It was disappointing when I decided to go home (last year). I wanted to start my pro career, but like I said, when one doors shuts, another one opens. It was a great experience at UNB – we finished second at nationals and won an AUS championship. The whole opportunity was awesome and it led to this.”

 

 

This time a year ago, the Tatamagouche native was on the outside looking in while what was supposed to be his first season of pro hockey started without him. A high ankle sprain put him on the shelf and kept him there while the Evansville IceMen waited desperately for the high-scoring forward to make his East Coast Hockey League debut.

He rushed back and was hurt again before he got to see a second of in-game action.

Tonight, in Elmira, N.Y., Fraser will finally get to play that first game.

“That’s life, man,” the 26-year-old said. “One door closes, another one opens.”

Fraser’s path after Evansville has been well documented. He headed home to heal, picked up a roster spot with the UNB Varsity Reds – a controversial move at his alma mater of UPEI – and won an Atlantic championship. Fraser’s student-athlete eligibility ended three goals short of a national championship in his home province. 

Despite coming just short of his goal, Fraser was playing better hockey than ever before and things were once again looking up. The offers came pouring in.

He wanted a guaranteed roster spot and a tryout in the American Hockey League, two things he found with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL. His mind was made up – he was heading to Upstate New York.

“It’s very similar to where I’m from,” he said of the Thunder’s base in the Adirondack region. “We’re up here in the mountains in a nice little town. It reminds me of home, so that helps.”

Also helping ease into the pro transition is the group around him. After a massive shakeup in the AHL, several ECHL teams were required to move. Adirondack, the home of the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate last year, became the ECHL affiliate instead. In a sense, everybody is new, not just Fraser.

The changes are a lot to deal with, but the feeling of just being part of a team remains the same.

“Everybody here is a pro. Everyone here has been through this before so that makes it a lot easier when everyone knows what you’re going through,” Fraser said.

As part of his deal, Fraser spent one game with the Stockton Heat of the AHL. He posted an assist and a +2 rating before being sent back to Adirondack.

“It was a lot different than anything I’m used to. There were guys there who have spent time in the NHL – I’m from Tatamagouche, I grew up without ever meeting anyone from the NHL.”

Fraser will start out as a bottom-six forward, but hopes to work his way up quickly. After so many ups and downs last year, he hopes it’s all up from here.

“It was disappointing when I decided to go home (last year). I wanted to start my pro career, but like I said, when one doors shuts, another one opens. It was a great experience at UNB – we finished second at nationals and won an AUS championship. The whole opportunity was awesome and it led to this.”

 

Recent Stories