Game On Magazine September 2015 - Page 40

a great coach,” said McLaren fondly. “He was a guy who always wanted the best for his players and would do whatever it took to get to the next level. “I don’t think there are many players who have gone straight from high school hockey to the Western Hockey League. Maybe just me and Ryan Reaves although there might have been some rural guys. But I loved high school hockey and playing for Bruce was great.” From Kelvin, he made the jump at 16 straight to the WHL where he played 50 games for the Portland Winterhawks 2003-04 and made Team Western U-17 for the 2003-04 World Hockey Challenge. He played four full seasons with Portland before being traded to the Moose Jaw Warriors in 2007-08 to complete his junior career. That same season, he joined the Worcester Sharks of the AHL. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound enforcer was selected by San Jose in the seventh round (203rd overall) of the 2007 NHL entry draft and eventually ended up with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he spent the 2014-15 season with the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies. For two years, he’s had to overcome wrist and knee injuries and thanks to his sessions with trainer Richard Burr, he finally feels healthy enough to play a full season. In Australia, he was the only Manitoban playing in the event. took two full teams— Team U.S.A. and Team Canada — and besides Burns and McLaren, other stars included David Booth and Matt Frattin of the Toronto Maple Leafs with Team Canada and Zenon Konopka and Garnet Exelby of Team U.S.A. According to Goulet, 57, the former member of the St. Boniface Saints and Winnipeg Monarchs (the 1970s MJHL) who founded, the primary goal for operating the 2015 Ice Hockey Classic in Australia was “to both raise awareness of the foundation’s mission, which is the education and prevention of concussions with players, coaches and parents, and to raise funds to fuel further development of the group’s efforts with and Brain Injury Australia.” For McLaren, The Canada-USA Challenge 40 GAME ON SEPTEMBER 2015 was more than a hockey series. It was a great way to give something back to the game. “It was an amazing experience,” he said. “To get a chance to help grow the game in a country where people are crazy about sports was an honor. “The fans were over the top and seeing the smiles on the kids faces at the NHL clinics made the experience incredibly rewarding. Understanding the importance of what these causes are supporting, education and prevention of concussions, hits home in a big way for myself and all the players.” Thanks to players like McLaren, the trip was a rousing success. “It’s funny but one of the best surprises of the trip was Frazer’s contribution to the Canadian squad,” Goulet said. “He had two assists registering in the first game and demonstrated he is more than an enforcer. He’s a player to be reckoned with. A gentleman in every way, he has been stellar both on and off the ice. He has engaged the fans and helped build the love of the game by taking time for the younger players. We were proud to have him Down Under. “When I was first introduced to the idea of having Frazer join us, I must admit I was a bit nervous because I knew how tough he was. I just didn’t know his skill level. He blew me away in all regards. This big man can play and is a fantastic leader.” n