When Hugh Fraser was the fastest kid in Canada, growing up in Kingston in the 1960s, all he really wanted was a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. The team had won the Stanley Cup when he was 14, nine, and eight and seven.
The team was everything but the jersey never came: There was no money for it.
Instead of playing for the Maple Leafs — he wasn’t a hockey player of any kind — Fraser ran for Ontario, ran for Canada. He once held the provincial records for what was then the 100 yards and 220-yard dashes. He ran the 200 metres in the Olympics in Montreal in 1976 and represented this country at the Commonwealth Games and Pan-American Games.
He never figured his son would one day be wearing the Maple Leafs hockey jersey, not as a fan, but as a player.
“It’s been quite surreal for myself and the entire family to see Mark getting this opportunity,” said Mark Fraser’s father, once an Olympian, once a lawyer, now a provincial court judge of distinction in Ottawa. “I never even let myself dream of the possibility that my son would one day be a Maple Leaf.”
The feeling isn’t much different for Curtis Fraser, Mark’s brother, who like his father was best on the track.
“I recall one time when it was bring your child to school day and Curtis was supposed to hang with me for the day. At one point, I realized he was no longer in the courtroom and couldn’t find him anywhere.
“Finally, we found him out in the corridor, with a couple of hockey magazines. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he was working on some trades he thought the Leafs should make and that was more important than anything I was doing in the court.”
This is Mark Fraser’s seventh year of pro hockey and he refers to his time with the Maple Leafs as day to day. Last season, on the roster of four different teams, he cleared waivers three times, was traded twice, ended up in Toronto in a deal for Dale Mitchell and next to nothing was expected of him.
The speed his father had on the track he’s never had on the ice.
“I was always a fast runner and a slow skater,” said Fraser. “I had to do other things to get this far.”
Fraser family cherishes Maple Leafs opportunity
Toronto Sun | Feb 12