Center Colin Fraser took some time of from his summer training and golf game to answer some questions for www.icehogs.com. Fraser is coming off of a career season last year with Rockford, setting personal high water marks in goals and points while playing in five games with Chicago Blackhawks.
The 2008-09 campaign marks Fraser’s fourth with the Blackhawks organization.
You entered this past offseason without a contract and have since re-signed with the Blackhawks. What was it like dealing with the uncertainty on where you were going to play this season?
Not much you can do about it. It was out of out my control so I’d try not to worry about it too much and approach the offseason just like any other. Being a non-restricted free agent, I kind of new that I would be with Chicago and Rockford this year since Chicago could match any offer.
The last two seasons you served as an alternate captain in the AHL. How do you approach that role?
I always, whether I have a letter or not, I try to lead by example. If I have a letter, that’s great. If not, I try to play the same way.
What type of pride do you take in wearing a letter?
I really enjoy wearing a letter. Guys look to you as a leader and it’s a little bit more responsibility. It’s an honor and you can help out the younger guys. Hopefully I can be a captain again this year.
What are your personal goals for the upcoming season?
First, it’s to head into Chicago and hopefully make the Blackhawks out of training camp. That’s my goal along with everyone else that’s going to camp. If that doesn’t happen, I want to have a good season in Rockford and improve on everything from last season.
You played in five games with the Blackhawks last season and six in your career. What do you need to do to get more time in the NHL with Chicago?
I think I’m ready to play in the NHL right now. I felt I had a good season last year and I feel that I can play up there. Given the opportunity, I think I can show that I am ready.
With training camp just over a month away, how rigorous is your training regiment right now in preparation for the upcoming season?
I take maybe two or three weeks off and then get right into weight training. I work out Monday through Friday doing weights for an hour and a half. Some days we’ll mix in some cardio and biking and endurance stuff.
Then I start skating in August and do it four days a week. So as the summer goes on, the training aspect slows down but the skating picks up.
You played for Mike Haviland for the past three seasons and Haviland was named assistant coach of the Blackhawks last month. Talk about playing for coach Haviland and seeing him get a shot in the NHL.
It’s awesome for him and I’m happy for him. From day one, I thought he was a great coach. I got along great with him. Everyone, players, coaches, refs, are all trying to make it to the NHL. I really hope he does well.
As a player with the Blackhawks, is it hard not to get caught up in all the excitement about the Blackhawks organization?
No, it’s exciting for us too. We got talent, not only on the Blackhawks, but in the system and in Rockford. There were probably as least a half dozen guys in Rockford last year that could have been in the NHL. We’re all friends, but we’re all fighting for the same jobs. I think the competitiveness helps us out a lot.
The following were questions submitted to email@example.com and selected for Colin to answer.
Hi, I was wondering what is the strangest thing you've had to autograph?
When people ask to have their arms, faces or hands autographed. It just gets washed off right away, so what’s the point?
Courtney from Belvidere
Do you always grow your hair out during the season and if you have been doing it, when did you start doing it?
No, I don’t always grow it out. I did do it once when I was 15 years old. I don’t know why I did it last year, but I talked a big game so I had to back it up.
Chris from Stillman Valley
With 1 year complete in Rockford, what do you think of how the IceHogs fans travel to the other arenas within a two hour radius of Rockford to cheer for you guys and how does it compare with other teams you've played for?
There always seemed to be IceHogs fans at the road games. They are right up there with any other fans from any other team that I’ve played on!
Shane from Rockford
Do you know much about Rockford’s new coach Bill Peters and what type of adjustments to players have to make when a new coach comes in?
I don’t know much about him. I know he coached in the Western Hockey League the last couple of years. I played in Red Deer in the WHL, but we only played Spokane once a year. Obviously he’s a good coach because he won the Memorial Cup last season.
There probably isn’t many adjustments that the players will have to make. You have to play the same way that made you successful as a player in the past. There might be some new systems that he’ll put in place, but you have to do what made you successful.
Shawn from Rockford
What is the toughest part about training camp?
NHL training camps are very hard. We typically practice, scrimmage and sometimes practice again. They basically show how good of shape you are in. Everyone is going as hard as they can all the time. They are some long, hard days. If you’re not in good shape, there is no way that you’re going to make the team. During training camp, I am usually asleep by 9 p.m.
Tom from Rockford