Looking ahead with optimism

by | Oct 2, 2017 | Uncategorized

Hockey season is right around the corner and men’s hockey coach Tim Fragle
is gearing up for his second season at the helm of the club.

In his first season as head coach, Fragle received an ACAC head coach of the year honour, a first ranked team coming out of the regular season and a silver medal in the 2016 ACAC championships.

This isn’t Fragle’s first run at leading a hockey squad with veteran experience. His background includes eight years as both GM and head coach of the AJHL Sherwood Park Crusaders, 13 years as associate director of Vimy Ridge Academy and also, in 2015, head coach of Team Canada West, which won a gold medal Junior A championship. This coach knows what he’s doing.

Fragle is a NAIT alumnus who graduated with a Business Management diploma.
While attending NAIT, he captained the Ooks for two seasons. “The difference in coaching between when I played and now is communication,” Fragle said recently.

He and his staff communicate with players not only about hockey but education
and help give them the resources to succeed. Players get individual sessions with the coaching staff to hear feedback on their positives and negatives on the ice. This opens up opportunities for them to get better.

This season mimics last season as the Ooks have a bunch of new faces – 12
returning and 14 new players.

“The turnover is huge,” says Fragle with a laugh. “Now we add more depth to
the team.”

After such a successful first season with the Ooks, what else does coach Fragle look to accomplish? Redemption against the MacEwan Griffins?

“When you don’t win, it’s for a reason. You have to go back to the drawing board
and fix what went wrong with the team,” he said with a zen approach.

Fragle started his first season with a whole new roster of Ooks players. At the
start of the year, the playoffs were not a part of the picture, yet with talented players and a veteran coach, this team turned into a powerhouse in the ACAC.

Even with such achievements and a relaxed approach, the coach wants to win
and so does his team.

“Those overtime loses in the finals sucked,” he said. “Those games could have
gone either way. That was the toughest loss of my career.” With the sting of not grabbing that brass ring (or gold) it looks like Fragle and the Ooks will be looking to add another banner to the rafters at NAIT.

The Ooks regular season starts away on Oct. 6 against the Augustana Vikings.
Sept. 13 saw the Ooks pause in their preparation for the regular season as 10 of their best players joined forces with 10 members of the rival MacEwan squad to face off against the Oilers rookies in an exhibition game. The game ended in a 2-0 upset victory for the Edmonton post-secondary all-stars. Those two goals were scored by NAIT’s Thomas Foster and Jarid Hauptman.

“This helped the program build relationships for years to come,” stated Fragle.
The hockey program is moving in a positive direction with an experienced
hockey veteran as the head coach.

If you have never seen a NAIT Ooks game, make sure you don’t miss the action
this year.

– Tre Lopushinsky
– Photo by Tim Potter

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