An 18-year journey has carried Tim Fragle to an important job at the place where he once spent three years as player.
His appointment as bench boss of the NAIT Ooks men’s hockey progam has been announced by NAIT athletics director Linda Henderson.
In this case, the job is not only important. It may be exceedingly difficult.
All Fragle has to do is replace departed head coach Mike Gabinet, who led the Ooks to a perfect record in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference competition last season and went undefeated in playoffs before accepting a role as associate head coach with the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks, a Division One NCAA program.
“I’m extremely honoured to have been appointed,” said Fragle, who started his hockey odyssey after playing three Junior A seasons with the Trail Smoke Eaters of the Kootenay International Hockey League. “As a proud (NAIT) alumnus I look forward to being part of this prestigious institution.
His memory of NAIT goes back to the second major step in his playing career. He spent three years under then-coach Terry Ballard. “We made the final two of the three seasons,” he recalled. “In the end, we just couldn’t get the job done.”
A coaching stint in minor hockey followed, leading to a seven-year run as head coach of the Sherwood Park Crusaders. “We had some good years,” he said. “Some really good years, but we couldn’t get to a championship.”
His experience in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, which sends many graduates to the ACAC, is counted on as a major plus, especially in the first year.