Phone: (616) 774-4585Biography:
Curt Fraser was named the eighth head coach in Griffins history on July 23, 2008, bringing 18 years experience as a head coach, assistant coach and player in the NHL to Grand Rapids.
Signed to a two-year contract extension in Aug. 2010, the 53-year-old ranks second to Chicagos Craig MacTavish among active AHL coaches in NHL head-coaching experience with 279 games, and he joins MacTavish as one of only two current AHL bench bosses to have over 200 games of NHL experience as both a head coach and a player on his resume.
Now first all time among Griffins head coaches in regular season games coached (316) and wins (146), Fraser owns a cumulative 146-130-18-22 record with the club.
In his debut season behind the Griffins bench in 2008-09, Fraser led the team to an impressive 43-25-6-6 regular season mark, a 28-point improvement in the standings from the prior campaign, and its first-ever playoff upset, a six-game toppling of Hamilton in the North Division Semifinals.
The 2009-10 through 2011-12 campaigns represented an anomaly in Frasers career as, for the only times in his nine seasons as a head coach in either the AHL or the original IHL, his team missed the playoffs and finished lower than third place in its division.
After compiling a tremendous head coaching resume in the International Hockey League during the 90s, Fraser was named the first head coach of the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers on July 14, 1999. He spent three and a half seasons behind the expansion teams bench, tutoring such stars as Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk during their first two pro campaigns and helping the Thrashers 2000-01 squad improve by 21 points over its debut season.
Frasers NHL resume also includes stints as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders in 2003-04 and St. Louis in 2005-06. He returned to North America after spending two years (2006-08) as the head coach of the Belarus national mens team, posting a 23-12-5 record and qualifying for the 2010 Winter Olympics with a ninth-place finish at the 2008 IIHF World Championship.
In six seasons as a head coach in the IHL (Milwaukee 1992-94 and Orlando 1995-99), Fraser guided his teams to two division titles and four second-place finishes, posting a cumulative 281-158-10-42 record (0.625) and earning at least 40 wins in every campaign. He was selected to coach in the IHL All-Star Game on three occasions, in 1996 and 1997 while with Orlando (Eastern Conference) and in 1993 while with Milwaukee (Western Conference).
Fraser led the Solar Bears to the Turner Cup Finals in both 1996 as an expansion team and 1999, and he orchestrated a first-round playoff triumph over Grand Rapids in 1997, ending the Griffins inaugural season. His Orlando teams won eight of 12 playoff series and posted a 17-4 record in elimination games, while his 1998-99 club became the first team in IHL history to overcome a 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven series, defeating Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Becoming the Griffins head coach represented a homecoming of sorts for Fraser on two fronts. Orlando provided his introduction to the DeVos family, as the Solar Bears were owned by Rich DeVos, the father of Griffins co-owner and president Dan DeVos. Meanwhile, Frasers first taste of the AHL came in 1994-95 as an associate coach with Syracuse.
Vancouvers second pick (22nd overall) in the 1978 NHL Draft, Fraser spent his entire 12-year playing career (1978-90) as a left wing in the NHL, exhibiting a rare combination of scoring touch and toughness. He accumulated 433 points (193-240433) and 1,306 penalty minutes in 704 contests with Vancouver, Chicago and Minnesota, highlighted by a personal-best 29-goal, 68-point season with the Blackhawks in 1985-86 and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals with the Canucks in 1982.
Raised in Winnipeg and Vancouver, Fraser was born in Cincinnati while his father, Barry Beatty, was playing for the IHLs Mohawks. Diagnosed with diabetes during his fifth NHL season in 1983, he has been heavily involved in helping to raise awareness and funds for diabetes research and education.
Curt and his wife, Rhonda, are the parents of sons Casey, Jesse and Luke.