Kerry Fraser to moderate NHL alumni ‘hot stove’ event

Kerry Fraser

Troy Shantz

Pencil in Oct. 5 as Hockey Night in Corunna.

That evening fans will have a chance to rub shoulders with some greats during an “NHL Alumni Players Hot Stove” at Wellings of Corunna.

The event includes a dinner, panel discussion and meet-and-greets with Chicago Blackhawk great Patrick “Whitey” Stapleton, former Red Wings defenceman and current broadcaster Jason York, and four-time Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup winner Murray Wilson.

NHL refereeing great Kerry Fraser is moderating the panel discussion. He said the evening will give attendees a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on Canada’s favourite game.

“Each of us that are participating … we’ve gone through training camps, we’ve had that ‘first game of the season,’ the history of going into old Maple Leaf Gardens or the Montreal Forum,” he told The Journal.

“Fan’s don’t know, they don’t realize. They only see the finished product.”

Fraser comes from a long line of Sarnians who skated their way into the NHL. Before he donned the zebra stripes, he played hockey alongside the likes of Wayne Merrick and Bob Neely.

Fraser was captain of the Sarnia Bees in 1971-72 season, but when it became apparent he wouldn’t make it as a pro player he turned to refereeing.

“I dropped my stick and gloves and decided that I was going to work really hard at becoming a referee, and I didn’t even know the obstacles that were in front of me. I just was going to be the best referee I was going to be.”

He completed a five-day, $250 course and was recruited to an NHL training camp on the condition he get a haircut.

“I had hair over my ears like the Beatles,” he said.

The result was the helmet-head hairstyle that’s been Fraser’s trademark ever since.

Over the next 30 years he laced up for 2,165 NHL matches including 261 playoff games and 12 Stanley Cup finals.

“I had the best seat in the house, being able to rub shoulders and develop relationships with the greats of the game,” he said. “My office was a 200-foot by 85-foot sheet of ice.”

The panel discussion starts at 4 p.m., the Hot Stove meet-and-greet at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. A broadcast of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs game that night will be shown at 7:05 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will support the Lambton Sting AAA hockey club, the Mooretown Flags and Lady Flags, and the Mike Weir Foundation.

 

IF YOU GO

WHAT: NHL Alumni Hot Stove, player meet-and-greet, dinner and live broadcast of NHL match between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m.

WHERE: Hosted by Wellings of Corunna, 180 Bunker Ave., Corunna

TICKETS: $50, by calling 519-455-0505