By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Marlborough – When he starts classes later this month at Marlborough High School, Andrew Fraser, 14, will have quite a vacation story to tell his friends. The rising freshman did not spend time as many of his classmates most likely did, on Cape Cod or anywhere else in New England for that matter. Rather, he, along with his 21 teammates, competed for Team USA’s U-14 division in the World Junior Ball Hockey Championships in Nitra, Slovakia, during the week of June 25 to July 1. That week, Andrew, one of the team’s goalies, helped Team USA win silver, with host Slovakia winning the gold medal.
Andrew has played the sport of ball hockey since 2009 in the Hudson Youth Dek Hockey League.
“I really enjoy it,” he said. “It’s fast-paced and a lot of fun.”
Dek hockey is derived from the sport of street hockey which is still played in thousands of tennis courts, driveways, and parking lots as well as streets, across the globe. As in ice hockey, dek hockey includes stickhandling, passing and shooting, and three periods of play. It does not, however, allow body checking. Leagues and tournaments are played in official rinks on an all- weather playing surface and under the Official Street Hockey/Dek Hockey Rules.
When Andrew first started playing dek hockey, he was a defenseman, before switching to goalie.
Although playing that position can be very stressful, he insists he rarely feels it.
“I just get in my zone,” he said. “I actually like when a game is tied because it’s really competitive then. I don’t really get stressed. I just play my game.”
That cool, calm composure earned him the attention of the national team coaches who invited him to tryouts in Pennsylvania and then Massachusetts. After making the cut as one of two goalies, he attended training camp with the rest of team before traveling to Slovakia.
During the world tournament, Andrew played in goal for all or part of five of the six games.
The USA team was comprised of players from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In their division, they competed against players from Slovakia and Team Europe. Players in the higher age groups were from a number of other countries from around the world.
Accompanying Andrew on the trip were his parents, Cristina and Rick, and sister, Elizabeth.
Andrew notes that although he is a huge Boston Bruins fan, he does not consciously model his play style after any goalie in particular. But his mom, a Bruins fan herself, said she feels that he is similar to former goalie Tim Thomas, who made himself a name (and won the Vezina Trophy for the NHL’s best goalie) with his freewheeling style.
Going forth, there is one more goal that he and his Team USA teammates want, he said.
“We want to go back to [worlds] and win U-16!” he said.
For more information on dek hockey, visit www.hudsondekhockey.com.