kerry fraser

In an essay published Friday on, former referee and current TSN analyst Kerry Fraser revealed some troubling news: he has been diagnosed with a chronic blood disorder called essential thrombocythemia, an incurable cancer. Doctors have told him patients of the disease can live live normally for years but that he will need a bone marrow biopsy to see if it has progressed.

Fraser officiated NHL games for 30 years before finally retiring in 2010. Since then, he has served as an analyst for TSN, appearing on SportsCentre, That’s Hockey, That’s Hockey 2Nite and writing a “C’Mon Ref” column for the network’s website.

The 65-year old Fraser called the diagnosis “a sucker punch in the gut” but put a positive spin on it.

I consider myself blessed that this rare disease was diagnosed before I had a stroke or heart attack. 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.

My family gives me strength and a good reason to prioritize my goals in life. My faith gives me the peace to know that all is in God’s hands. Kathy gave me a reading that I used at the funeral of my dad, Hilt, 16 years ago … “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’s revelation of his diagnosis was part of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer Month, and he wrote that he hoped his experience would help with the league’s initiative. Obviously, we hope all goes well with Fraser’s treatment and that he’s around making us smarter about hockey for a long time to come.


About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.