Kerry Fraser is no doubt the worst Referee in NHL History, and him announcing his retirement is the best thing to happen to the game in a long time.
Here's the story from the Toronto Sun:
Kerry Fraser works final Maple Leafs game
Veteran ref prepares to hang up skates after Saturday's Toronto - New York match
The on-ice officials try hard not to be the story of the game, but that will be difficult for Kerry Fraser on Saturday night when the Maple Leafs meet the Rangers at the Air Canada Centre.Yes yes... The infamous 1993 playoff game where Fraser cost the Leafs their best hope at a Stanley Cup in the modern era... I know I'll never forgive him for that night, and neither will almost every other Leaf fan that I talk to about it. And it's not just Leaf fans who have a beef with Fraser, it's pretty much all hockey fans... At the beginning of games when they announce the Refs, whenever "Kerry Fraser" is heard in the arena, BOOS are generally heard from the crowd regardless of the city or team that's playing.
The 57-year-old will work his last game in Toronto, where he started his career with an exhibition game between the Canadiens and Maple Leafs at the Gardens in the 1970s, and the town that wanted to lynch him in the 1993 playoffs for not calling Wayne Gretzky’s high stick on Leafs' star Doug Gilmour.
Reminded that a generation of Toronto fans believe, true or not, that he cost them a Stanley Cup and would never forgive him, Fraser quipped “I have a hard time forgiving myself when I look at the replay that is constantly being shown by you guys..."
The fact is that when Kerry Fraser is officiating, his calls and missed calls influence the outcome of the games (regularly), and that's where you have to draw the line when it comes to good Refs and horrible Refs.
Just ask the 1,506 people who signed a petition for Kerry Fraser to be terminated from the NHL due to his extremely poor performance (Ban Kerry Fraser From NHL Refereeing Forever). If you actually read through the list of signatures, you'll find all kinds of references to various games where fans (who were so serious about his failures that they actually searched for and signed an online petition) believe that Fraser blew calls that cost teams games. There are even comments where they credit Fraser with goals, like "45. Rico - 3 for Calgary 2 for Tampa 2 for the Kerry Fraser"...
Anyway, his retirement has definitely been a long time coming, and I believe it's a great time for all of us to celebrate with a Jack and Coke with a lime! Cheers!
For those of you who want to reminisce about that infamous game where Fraser missed (whether purposely or not) Gretz's high stick on Doug Gilmour in OT in game six of the 1993 Conference Finals, here's the video clip from YouTube:
And, for those of you who want to see Don Cherry's response and opinion on what happened that night, here's the YouTube video for that:
Don is a Hero, I swear! “Or a dirty look”... Classic Don!
By the way, don't forget that Don's biopic is on on Sunday (Part 1) and Monday (Part 2) on CBC. Here are the times:
Part 1 Sunday, March 28th at 8pm/8:30NTHere's the official site for the movie on CBC.ca, Keep Your Head Up, Kid - The Don Cherry Story. Check it out if you want to see the trailer.
Part 2 Monday, March 29th at 8pm/8:30NT
PS: Here's one more video for you Mario Lemieux fans... In this one Fraser doesn't call the slashes to Mario by the Tampa Player, but when Mario finally responds in frustration, Fraser immediately calls a penalty on Mario. Of course Mario was pissed, but it didn't help the situation when Fraser came over and began taunting Mario after-the-fact, which got Mario so upset, that he actually went after Fraser (leaving the penalty box and the whole 9)!! He ended up getting a game misconduct...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dan4th/440165125/sizes/o/ by Dan4th on flickr (modified)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqGFFEc6Bng (Fraser Missed Call Video)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55FNNOh04Us (Don Cherry's Comments)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysGiUe9M07E (Lemieux vs Fraser))