Barry Fraser Obituary, Death – The death of former Oilers head scout Barry Fraser, who passed away at the age of 82, was announced by the team on Sunday. Fraser’s shrewd draft picks helped build a hockey dynasty in Edmonton. A post on the Oilers’ official Twitter account confirmed the news that Fraser had passed away in Edmonton on Sunday. No information regarding the cause of death has been made public.
According to Glen Sather, a former coach for the Oilers as well as the general manager of the team, “He was a fun guy to be around, everyone [that had gotten to know him] liked the guy, even the opposing scouts in the league – he got along really well with people.”
“He was an employee of the Oilers and me for [approximately] 15–18 years,” I said. We got along very well, and I listened to his decisions and advice about who we ought to draft. One of the primary contributors to the success of the great Oilers teams of the 1980s and 1990s was Fraser.
The native of Kirkland, Ontario, who was appointed the team’s scouting director in 1979 is credited with drafting future Hockey Hall of Famers Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Kevin Lowe, and Grant Fuhr. He was also responsible for drafting Paul Coffey and Kevin Lowe. The team has taken home the Stanley Cup on five separate occasions: in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990.
“He recruited a large number of fantastic players for us. Our team consisted of a lot of fresh faces. Naturally, they went through childhood together and eventually became a large number of star players and Hall of Famers,” Sather said.
“You could really go through the roster, and you know that this team was drafted by the Oilers, but you also know that it was really on the advice of Barry Fraser, and I don’t think the general fan gives the scouts enough credit.. You have a good chance of getting better if you make an effort to put together a team and you have a strong scouting staff.
Sather referred to Fraser as another “intense competitor” in the race. After one game of the 1987 Stanley Cup Final, when Mike Keenan, then the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, tried to shake hands with Fraser, Fraser turned his back on him and walked away. Edmonton went on to win the game 4-3. Sather asserts that Keenan would order players into battle even when the outcome of the games was already decided.
According to Sather, “[Fraser] was an outgoing character, and he was fun to be around; however, he was also very serious about his job, and winning and losing – he hated losing.”
Not only on the Oilers but also on the rest of the league, Fraser left his imprint. “I believe that the impact that he had on the game can be seen if you take a look at the record of this team. “Back in those days, the National Hockey League did not expect us to do a lot of things that we did,” Sather said.
And Barry was a member of that squad. There were a lot of decent people on our team. We collaborated as a group to get the job done. And in terms of personnel, the team wasn’t nearly as large as those that are fielded today, but Barry put in a lot of effort. It’s likely that he spent somewhere between six and twelve times a year in Europe. He put in a lot of effort, and that was the key to his success.”