For many professional athletes, the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that span their entire careers could produce Lifetime Movie-worthy scripts. For Los Angeles Kings center Colin Fraser, Lifetime would probably only need the last 12 months.
In June of 2011, Fraser was traded to the Kings in LA general manager Dean Lombardi’s second attempt at getting Ryan Smyth to the Edmonton Oilers, per Smyth’s request. Unbeknownst to the Kings at the time, Fraser would require foot surgery – an issue which caused Lombardi to later contest the trade, creating a rare stir amongst those involved.
“It was a weird situation. I was kind of the man stuck in the middle. For me, I just wanted my foot to get better and I just wanted to play,” said Fraser, originally drafted by Philadelphia in 2003.
The situation couldn’t possibly have gotten worse for Fraser, who had trouble finding his way into the lineup during his time in Edmonton, then gets traded to a team that all but labeled him with a ‘go back’ tag.
“I had a tough season last season, from being a healthy scratch, then breaking my foot, and not being able to play on the 30th place team,” Fraser expressed. “You’re kind of down on yourself, and now your foot is broken and you don’t know what to do.”
The Guy with the Broken Foot, as Fraser was originally known to Kings fans, healed his foot, was cleared to play, and was eventually given a chance.
It was a chance he turned into a regular spot in the lineup, as well as a nod from the Los Angeles Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association as the Kings nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
The only thing that challenged Fraser’s spot in the lineup came during the Western Conference Finals, when Fraser took a leave of absence from the team in order to be with his son, Calder, who had been hospitalized.
When Calder’s health was stabilized, Fraser returned to the team and opened the scoring in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, as the Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils by the score of 2-1.
“That was a good feeling,” said Fraser, a Surrey, British Columbia native. “To score a big goal like that in a moment like that was special.”
A goal like that would be special to anyone, but perhaps even more so to Fraser.
In 2010 Fraser won a Stanley Cup Championship with the Chicago Blackhawks, despite not playing in the Final.
“In Chicago, I didn’t get to play, but I still got my name on the Cup and I still got to be a part of the whole thing, and this time around, playing and contributing, I just feel better,” Fraser admitted.
Having already experienced a day with the Cup, Fraser – who during the Final contributed a column to NHL.com -- decided he would follow the exact same schedule this year since it worked so well for him in the past.
Fraser received the Cup at 11 a.m. in downtown Sylvan Lake, Alberta. He immediately headed for his public appearance on the pier where he arrived by boat and was escorted by kids in the local minor hockey association and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to a stage where fans were allowed to take photos with the Cup and obtain autographs from noon until 2 p.m.
From 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. Fraser rented a party boat on the lake and entertained about 40 family members and close friends, before an evening party in a private lounge at Moxie’s, a well-known Canadian chain restaurant.
“We had 85 people there and that’s when the fun really began. Everybody got to drink out of the Cup and touch the Cup,” said Fraser, who now calls Alberta home during the off season.
Although the itinerary mirrored that of his first day with the Cup, this time around was different for one very distinct reason. Shortly after Chicago won the Cup, Fraser was traded to Edmonton, which made it so that by the time his day with the Cup came around, he was no longer a part of the Blackhawks’ organization.
This year, however, Fraser inked a new two-year contract with the Kings, not even two weeks after their Stanley Cup victory.
“I think I found a home in LA, I think it’s a good fit for me as a player, and obviously it’s a great city on top of the hockey,” explained Fraser. “You want to win, you want to win again, and we got the exact same team coming back, so it’s all exciting.”
The new contract is well-deserved reward for Fraser, who has become popular in the locker room as well as within the Kings community. A frequent host of Kings Vision’s “Unfiltered” features, Fraser has also increased his connection with fans on Twitter.
“They gave me a chance to play, which helped and gave me confidence,” said Fraser of the Kings.
“It was a weird 12 months, but obviously everything happens for a reason and it was well worth it.”
Join the conversation on Twitter with the NHL, LA Kings and the Cup Keepers for their summer with Stanley by using the hashtag #StanleyCup
LA Kings: @LAKings
Cup Keepers: @KeeperOfTheCup
Colin Fraser: @ColinFraser
Deborah Lew: @by_DeborahLew
For photos of the Kings’ summer with Stanley, view the Hockey Hall of Fame’s ‘Stanley Cup Journal’ CLICK HERE
You can also check out the Stanley Cup on Facebook at Facebook.com/StanleyCup and Facebook.com/TravelsWithStanley
To read about Simon Gagne’s ‘MY STANLEY CUP STORY,’ CLICK HERE