OK, OK, I know where you think I'm going with this. After all, Fraser's infamous missed call on Wayne Gretzky's high-stick arguably cost the Leafs a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals, and many fans have never forgiven him. I may even have mentioned it once or twice.
But whatever you may think about that incident, the fact remains that it was one call in long career. So rather than go the predictable route and use the occasion as one last chance to pile cheap shots on the poor guy, I'm going to take the high road and focus on the positive.
So in that spirit, I invite you to join me in celebrating a successful career with this list of Good Things About Kerry Fraser.
- Was an independent spirit, and not some weak-kneed conformist who made all his difficult decisions based on what's written down in some sort of "rule book".
- Taught you at an early age that life is unfair, justice is a myth, and that we live in a cold and uncaring universe that will feed you small morsels of hope only to crush and mock you -- all of which most people don't get to find out until they're much older.
- Is often unfairly referred to as "evil", which theologians will tell you is not only inaccurate but actually impossible as it implies the presence of a soul.
- Scientists researching the effects of severe head injuries say that the comment section of the Gretzky/Gilmour youtube video has proven to be an invaluable resource in locating victims of undiagnosed brain trauma.
- Had a distinctive hair style, which would have no doubt spawned countless hilarious jokes from the media if only they had ever noticed it.
- Always dealt graciously with criticism; in fact, you could give him the finger right in front of his face and he would just stand there as if he didn't even see it.
- By helping the Kings make it to the 1993 Conference Finals, he was at least partially responsible for the subsequent wave of expansion into southern American markets. And look how great that's worked out!
- If you were going to compile a list of best top red-headed sports officials of all time, you could make a pretty strong case for him being in the Top 100.
- As best anyone can tell, probably had nothing to do with the writing or recording of "Free to Be".
- By forcing Marty McSorley to use a stick with less curve, was indirectly responsible for the delivery of serious blunt force trauma to Donald Brashear's head.
- Has gone over ten years without screwing over any members of the Hartford Whalers.
- Certainly disproved that whole "vertical stripes make you look taller" myth.
- He's pretty much the last active NHLer who remembers what it's like to participate in a meaningful Leafs playoff game.