Retired NHL Referee Kerry Fraser Announces He Has Cancer

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TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 13: Referee Kerry Fraser skates out wearing a wig on his helmet prior to the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic game at the Air Canada Centre on November 13, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Retired NHL Referee Kerry Fraser announced today that he has an incurable form of cancer. His announcement came via a story on NHL.com. In support of the Hockey Fights Cancer month. He stated in the story that, “The NHL has given me a vehicle to help others with its Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.”

The 65-year-old Fraser learned 10 days ago that he had a rare chronic blood disorder called essential thrombocythemia. It is part of the leukemia group of cancers. It can in rare cases develop into acute leukemia or myelofibrosis.

Retired NHL Referee Kerry Fraser Announces He Has Cancer

He received the diagnosis after a routine pre-operative procedure, prior to a surgery to remove a fatty cell in his bicep. It revealed that he had a high platelet count.

Though the cancer is incurable Fraser seems to be taking it in stride.

“I consider myself blessed that this rare disease was diagnosed before I had a stroke or heart attack,” Fraser continued. “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.”

Doctor, Stefan Barta, of the world-renowned Fox Chase Cancer Center in Northeast Philadelphia made the discovery. Barta says that it is possible ” to live a normal life for many years” with this form of cancer.

Fraser maintains many relationships in the hockey world. Fraser says his personal relationships are his main focus for the indefinite future. He writes “I still live and breathe hockey, but I’ve come to realize that people are more important than the game I love.” Quoting a reading from his father’s funeral. “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!”

Fraser served as a referee in the NHL for 30 years. He also officiated the 1998 Olympics in Nagano Japan. The first tournament to include NHL participation. He was also an official 1996 World Cup of Hockey. He retired after the 2010 season but stays connected to the game in a number of ways. One of them has been a TSN.ca blog called C’mon Ref, in which he discusses and comments on controversial calls from NHL games. Many from the hockey world continue to send their support and well wishes as he battles cancer.

 

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