Former NHL ref Kerry Fraser diagnosed with incurable form of cancer

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Kerry Fraser, a referee in the NHL for 30 years, announced on Friday that he was recently diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer call essential thrombocythemia, a rare chronic blood disorder.

The 65-year-old Fraser just learned of the diagnosis 10 days ago and made the announcement on NHL.com.

A brief excerpt from his article:

I consider myself blessed that this rare disease was diagnosed before I had a stroke or heart attack. At 65, I was planning on living a healthy, full life for many more years. Now that I know I have this disease I can take extra precautions to keep my blood thinner and hopefully prevent a blood clot from hitting my heart or brain.

My family gives me strength and a good reason to prioritize my goals in life. My faith gives me the peace to know that all is in God’s hands. Kathy gave me a reading that I used at the funeral of my dad, Hilt, 16 years ago … “We pass through this life but once. Therefore any good that I may do, or any kindness that I may show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again!”

You can read his entire article here.

Fraser started as an official in the NHL during the 1980-81 season and worked in the league through the end of the 2010 season. He was one of the last referees in the league that was allowed to officiate games without a helmet (he was grandfathered in). Along with his time in the NHL, he also officiated during the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Following his career as an official Fraser has worked for TSN writing a regular column discussing various officiating decisions around the league.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.