For over 30 years Kerry Fraser called the shots as the best referee in the NHL.
The all-time leader of games officiated by a Referee in the National Hockey League, Kerry refereed 261 Stanley Cup Playoff Games, including 12 Stanley Cup Finals. He officiated the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, two All-Star Games and the 2010 NHL Winter Classic.
Despite the tough job that hockey officials must do, Kerry Fraser enjoys unprecedented respect from both players and coaches. Wayne Gretzky said “He’ll will always be number 1” while Sydney Crosby said “Kerry is fair and accountable”. Scotty Bowman said “I always felt comfortable when he was refereeing a game” and Mark Messier said “He wanted the players to play the game the way it was meant to be played”
Every year, Kerry was overwhelmingly selected as the best referee in the NHL through independent polls of NHL players conducted annually by ESPN and the Toronto Sun, including his final season.
Kerry first strapped on a pair of ice skates at the tender age of 15 months, not too long after learning to walk, and began playing organized hockey at the age of 5. Progressing through youth hockey to the Junior A level in Canada, Kerry was known as a good “little” player that played tougher and much bigger than opponents expected from his diminutive 5’7” frame. After completing a successful Junior A hockey career Kerry came to a crossroads in the game. Since he wasn’t drafted by the NHL, he decided to pursue a career within the game as a referee. While attending a 5 day referee school that summer of 1972 in Ontario, Kerry was scouted by the NHL Officiating Department and invited to attend their training camp a week later. Kerry was assigned to work in the American Hockey League that season as a linesman to gain experience. The following year he was signed to an NHL contract as a referee.
Kerry brings hockey enforcement knowledge from 4 different decades of professional hockey at the NHL level to the podium. He always put player safety at the top of his responsibilities which is why he was invited to make a presentation at the Mayo Clinic Hockey Summit, relative to head hits and concussions that currently plague the game.
Upon retirement, Kerry wrote a book, “The Final Call, Hockey Stories from a Legend in Stripes” that was released in, 2010 which quickly became a best-seller
No stranger to the camera or microphone, Kerry Fraser currently brings his vast NHL officiating experience and candid approach to TSN as an analyst on the show, “That’s Hockey 2Nite.” Through his highly popular “C’mon Ref” segment, Fraser writes a fan-friendly, informative column on tsn.ca during the hockey season.
Fraser is also a regular guest analyst on TSN Radio across Canada and joins former NHL player, Chris “Knuckles” Nilan on his show, ‘Off The Cuff’ with a weekly “C’mon Ref” segment on TSN Radio 690 Montreal.
In the arena of public speaking, Kerry Fraser takes his audience on to the ice with stories and life lessons gained throughout his legendary NHL Officiating career. His keynotes are always hard-hitting, educational and very entertaining.
- Making the Tough Calls
Playing by the rules is something Kerry Fraser knows a lot about. For over 30 years he had to blow the whistle on NHL players who broke the rules of the game. It didn’t always make him popular but it guaranteed that every NHL game he officiated was safe for everyone on the ice. Kerry shares why having a code of safety in place is important but that holding everyone on your team accountable to the code is that much more important. How to enforce the rules respectfully and influence positive attitudes so that everyone knows why playing by the rules is not an option, it’s a must! Using his many colourful examples as an NHL ref (along with action from game footage), Kerry takes your audience to ice level and entertains them while reminding them that a culture of safety is what keeps everyone in the game and that making the tough calls is what Leadership is all about!
- C’mon Ref You Suck!... Dealing with Rejection (The Art of Communication and Emotional Control)
- Leadership and Teamwork