Scout Barry Fraser Obituary, Death – The death of former Oilers head scout Barry Fraser, who passed away at the age of 82, was confirmed by the team on Sunday. Fraser’s savvy selection picks helped construct a hockey dynasty in Edmonton. A message on the Oilers’ official Twitter account confirmed the news that Fraser had passed away in Edmonton on Sunday. No information on 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 wonderful guy to be around, everyone [who had gotten to know him] enjoyed the guy, even the opposition scouts in the league — he got along pretty well with people.” “He was an employee of the Oilers and I for [about] 15–18 years,” I said. We got along very well, and I listened to his decisions and opinions 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 product of Kirkland, Ontario, who was appointed the team’s scouting director in 1979 is credited for picking future Hockey Hall of Famers Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Kevin Lowe, and Grant Fuhr. He was also responsible for choosing Paul Coffey and Kevin Lowe.
“He recruited a large number of excellent players for us. Our workforce 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 added. “You could truly go through the roster, and you know that this club was drafted by the Oilers, but you also know that it was really on the advise of Barry Fraser, and I don’t think the general fan gives the scouts enough credit.. You have a decent 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 “tough 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 though the outcome of the games was already decided. According to Sather, “[Fraser] was an extroverted character, and he was enjoyable to be around; nevertheless, he was also very serious about his profession, and winning and losing — he despised 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 club. “Back in those days, the National Hockey League did not expect us to do a lot of things that we did,” Sather remarked. And Barry was a member of the squad. There were a lot of decent folks on our team. We collaborated as a group to get the job done. And in terms of people, the squad wasn’t nearly as large as those that are fielded now, 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 it was the key to his success.”