Loading
Former NHL referee recalls how God changed his heart
Legendary NHL referee Kerry Fraser poses with his award and Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield on Oct. 9, 2012. Credit: Michelle Bauman/CNA.
Legendary NHL referee Kerry Fraser poses with his award and Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield on Oct. 9, 2012. Credit: Michelle Bauman/CNA.
By Michelle Bauman
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Legendary referee Kerry Fraser is known for his trademark hairstyle and holds the record for most National Hockey League games called. However, Fraser’s life was most deeply touched by a different kind of call – one that led to his conversion to the Catholic faith.

“It was overwhelming and powerful,” he said, explaining that God reached out to him through his wife and never stopped calling.

Fraser told the story of his conversion at the second annual Courage Awards Reception, hosted by Catholic Athletes for Christ on Oct. 9.

The ceremony honored local athletes from Catholic high schools, and Fraser received the 2012 Courage Award for living and sharing his Catholic faith with others in an exemplary way.

The record-holding referee explained that he grew up in a household without a strong faith. Starting what would become a 30-year career in the NHL, he worked hard to be in control of his life.

“It was all about me,” he said, and that created problems. “It was me that needed to be fixed. I was broken.”

His wife, Kathy, was Catholic and prayed to the Blessed Mother for her husband.

“Through the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, I was led every step of the way,” he said, reflecting on the events that led to his conversion.

In addition to the powerful witness of his wife and other people that God placed in his life, Fraser said that he experienced several “mystical events” that he attributes to God’s love and mercy, including one instance while driving to Pittsburgh, in which he saw an image in the sun of a baby in its mother’s womb and two joined hearts.

He converted to Catholicism in 1995, developed a deep devotion to the Rosary and began attending daily Mass, despite being on the road frequently for work.

As he began living his new Catholic faith and allowing the Lord to take control of his life, Fraser started to experience a profound peace.

“My life changed,” he said. “My heart changed.”

Despite the new challenges and obstacles that arose, Fraser always found an abundance of grace. His conversion touched both his family and his professional relationships.

“I was carrying the armor of Christ with me onto the ice,” he said.

Fraser told about how his faith influenced him in an encounter with player, Theo Fleury, a talented but “troubled” star who was known for his physical style of play.

In one 1996 game, Fleury showered Fraser with foul language and threw his helmet at him, calling for a fight.

Fraser said that his human reaction would have been to kick the helmet back in Fleury’s face, but instead, he looked for “a better way,” maintaining his temper and disciplining the player according to the rules of the game.

A few years later, Fraser recalled, Fleury came to him during a break in a game with tears in his eyes. A player on the opposing team, Tyson Nash, had been mocking Fleury about his drug and alcohol addictions, which he had been desperately working to treat, and he was overwhelmed.

While Fraser could have brushed him off or even ridiculed him, given Fleury’s attack on him in 1996, he chose instead to look upon the hockey player with the eyes of Christ.

“I saw a wounded human being there,” he said, explaining that he convinced Nash to apologize for his remarks.

Years later, he said, Nash confessed that the encounter had been a “life-altering situation” that prompted him to re-evaluate who he was and how he was acting on the ice.

“We never know what kind of effect we might have on people; how we can make a difference,” Fraser observed.

He explained that truly living out the Catholic faith will make a difference in the lives of those around us, even if we don’t always see the result. This is why we need to proudly “carry our Catholic faith with us and live it” in our schools, businesses and families, not acting ashamed or hiding it, he said.

Fraser encouraged student athletes to use their sports to glorify God, whether it is noticed or not.

“Continue to stay in the light. Lead by example,” he said. “Christ set the bar very high. But the reward is incredible.”

Tags: Sports, Conversions

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
23

Liturgical Calendar

November 23, 2014

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 25:31-46

Gospel
Date
11/23/14
11/22/14
11/21/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 34: 11-12, 15-17
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 15: 20-26, 28
Gospel:: Mt 25: 31-46

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/23/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Homily
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14