- Scott Barboza, ESPN Staff Writer
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Dexter rising senior Patrick Fraser found himself in an interesting predicament earlier this summer.
A two-sport standout with Dexter’s lacrosse and hockey teams, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder seriously had to consider his future. The goaltender had played hockey from the age of 6, and it was his lifelong dream to play Division 1 college hockey. But his booming left-handed shot on the lacrosse field had attracted looks from a who’s who of major Division 1 college programs. Or, there was the possibility to play both in college.
Earlier this month, the Walpole resident made his decision, choosing to play lacrosse at traditional power Johns Hopkins.
We caught up with Fraser to look at the rigors of the recruiting process and how he ended up with the Blue Jays:
On picking lacrosse over hockey: “It was an extremely difficult choice. I spent my whole life playing hockey and hockey was always my focus. Lacrosse was just something I did in the spring and into the summer. Really, not until late this spring of my junior year was when I started taking lacrosse more into consideration.”
On getting into lacrosse recruiting later on: “I came into it a little bit late, so I was a little bit nervous about how it was going to turn out. The lacrosse recruiting process starts so early. It’s kinda’ funny, one of the first conversations I had with [Hopkins head coach Dave] Pietramala had kind of made a joke about it. He told me, ‘You can’t be that far behind in the process if you’ve got the coach from Hopkins calling you.’ That was one of the first things he said to me and I thought it was pretty funny. I’ve always wanted to play hockey, but when an opportunity like the chance to play at Johns Hopkins comes along, you have to take it.”
On whether he’d pursued opportunities to play college hockey: “My junior year of hockey was big for me. I really wanted to play hockey more than anything, I’d always wanted to play Division 1 hockey. I wanted to pursue that route. The thing is that … You know [Loomis Chaffee goaltender] Danny Tirone? He just won the New England Prep School Player of the Year this year and UNH is asking him to play two years of juniors before he can even get there. Now, he was the Player of the Year – not even Goaltender of the Year – Player of the Year, and that’s what he has to do to get to UNH? So that wasn’t a route I was too interested in. I didn’t want be a 22-year-old freshman in college. I did explore the Division 3 route, and maybe playing both [lacrosse and hockey] at a NESCAC school maybe. I had times where I considered that, I’d go back-and-forth every week. Then I played a couple of summer tournaments earlier this summer and I had a bunch of Division 1 coaches calling me. Really up until that point, I was still considering ways that I’d still be able to play hockey.
On how much Pietramala meant to him choosing Hopkins: “Having played hockey for [Dexter head coach] Dan Donato, and getting used to his hard-nosed, old school style of coaching, I wanted something like that. He’ll break you down and really get on you, but when you do the right things, he’ll really give you a pat on the back. I like that. I like playing for a coach like that. And talking to a few different people about Coach Pietramala, I found out that he works in very much the same way. He’s an imposing figure, but it was really impressive to me how much respect he treated me and my family with. When I went down for a visit, it was unlike any visit that I’d had.”
On Dexter hockey’s success last season: “In a way, I think we’ve already taken the next step. Last season was a huge season [21-2-5 in 2012-13] for the program. Making the Elite Eight was a milestone to what our program can become. In the beginning, I went to Dexter to play hockey. I loved Coach Donato and he’s done wonders with this school. We love playing with each other, more than any other team I’ve been on.”