Former pro hockey player and retired firefighter Rick Fraser of Sarnia lived a full life that always included time for his family and friends.
He died Monday at 66 years old after a two-year battle with cancer.
“He genuinely cherished life,” his obituary said. “He was a rare combination of someone who had a love of life and a firm understanding of what was important; the simplicity of living a life with those you love! Rick always made friends wherever he went.”
Fraser is survived by his wife, Karen, children Lynsey, Dave and Jamie, and eight grandchildren. His brother, Kerry, is a former NHL referee.
“Will miss seeing Rick and Karen riding their bike for two along the waterfront and around town always smiling and waving,” Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley wrote on Facebook.
Fraser played junior B hockey with the Sarnia Bees before spending three junior A seasons on the Oshawa Generals’ blue-line from 1971-74. (His son Jamie also played in the OHL with the Sarnia Sting before starting a pro career that’s now in its 15th season.)
After being a 10th-round pick by the Chicago Black Hawks in the 1974 NHL draft and a 17th-round pick by the Indianapolis Racers in the 1974 World Hockey Association draft, Fraser played most of his four pro seasons in the NAHL and IHL.
He was inducted into the Sarnia Lambton Sports Hall of Fame in 2019 in the professional athlete category.
Fraser worked as a Sarnia firefighter for 32 years before retiring in 2010.
He also coached minor hockey, refereed and played senior hockey.
“Even after he was diagnosed with cancer and felt too weak to play, he enjoyed refereeing his teammates and heckling them from the stands,” his obituary said.
Fraser’s passion for music led him to play guitar and sing at his favourite spots in Sarnia and Lambton County. He and his late father, Hilt, also performed for residents at long-term care homes.
They added some other musicians to form a band, Hilt and the Boys, that played during family visits to Mackinac Island.
A celebration of Fraser’s life will be held, but no date has been announced.