Thursday

Curt Fraser

When you think of the best fighters of the 1980s you automatically think of Bob Probert, Dave Semenko, Dave Brown, and Tiger Williams.

One of the most underrated would have to be Curt Fraser. He did not fight as much and was a valuable player more so than a goon, but pound for pound he may have been as good a fighter as there was in his era.

Fraser was born in Cincinnati, Ohio where his dad played some minor pro hockey. As a baby the family relocated to Winnipeg and when Curt was 9 they moved to Vancouver.

Fraser would become a junior hockey legend in British Columbia, for his combined physical play and scoring prowess. He started out with the Kelowna Buckaroos of the BCJHL in 1973 and then moving to Victoria where he starred with the WHL Cougars.

His NHL dreams would come true in BC, too. The Vancouver Canucks drafted him 22nd overall in 1978. Soon he would be starring on the Canucks top line with Thomas Gradin and Stan Smyl and was a solid contributor to the Canucks run to the Stanley Cup finals in 1982.

Fraser showed solid improvement in each of his first four seasons in Vancouver, even scoring 28 goals in 1981-82. Injuries hampered severely in year 5, leading to his famous trade to Chicago. One has to wonder if his 1983 diagnosis of diabetes scared off the Canucks.

At first many Canucks fans lamented the departure of their home town crowd favorite. Those thoughts were quickly forgotten when the player the Canucks received, Tony Tanti, became their best goal scorer in team history. Tanti would register 5 straight seasons of 39 or more goals.

Fraser would recover from injuries and continue to be an underrated power forward in Chicago and later Minnesota. His fists came in handy in the old "Chuck" Norris division, as Fraser had classic battles with the likes of Bob Probert and Willi Plett.

Fraser played 12 seasons of professional hockey as a left wing who combined toughness with the ability to score. He played in a total of 704 NHL contests, collecting 193 goals and 240 assists for 433 points along with 1,306 penalty minutes with Vancouver (1978-83), Chicago (1983-88) and Minnesota (1988-90). He also skated in 65 career playoff outings, registering 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points along with 198 penalty minutes.

He later went on to become a long time pro coach, including with the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers. He has also continued to be very active in fundraising and awareness in the fight against diabetes.

Here's a couple of my favorite Curt Fraser fights on YouTube:






1 comments:

Anonymous,  9:22 PM  

A real underrated hockey player. Tough as nails and fearless. By all accounts, loved by his teammates.

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