Ilya Kovalchuk Reveals NHL Coach's Outrageous Tantrum Story

Published March 6, 2023 at 10:30

Ilya Kovalchuk, the Russian hockey player, has a storied career that spans several decades. In an interview in Russia, Kovalchuk recounted one of his most memorable conflicts with a coach during his time in North America's NHL. The coach in question was Curt Fraser, who was leading the Atlanta Thrashers at the time. Let's dive into the story of sticks and strife.

Fraser Throws Away Kovalchuk's Sticks

Kovalchuk recalled that he first came to Atlanta with a stick that had a big curve on it. This was in contrast to the straight hook sticks that were commonly used in Canada at the time. During one game, Kovalchuk was suspended for bending his stick, which led to Fraser throwing away all of his sticks and replacing them with straight hook sticks.

Kovalchuk and Fraser's Conflict

This incident did not sit well with Kovalchuk, and he and Fraser got into a heated argument. However, Kovalchuk continued to bend the straight hook sticks that Fraser gave him, and half of the blades broke as a result. Eventually, Fraser relented and allowed Kovalchuk to play with his preferred sticks.

Fraser's Coaching Career

Fraser was the first-ever coach of the Atlanta Thrashers when they joined the league. He remained with the team from 1999 to 2003, which was his first and only head coaching stint in the NHL. Since then, he has worked as an assistant coach with various NHL and AHL teams, and he also served as head coach of Kunlun Red Star of the NHL.

Kovalchuk's Retirement Status

Kovalchuk last played professional hockey in the 2020-21 season with Omsk Avangard. Despite not playing for the last couple of years, he has not announced his retirement officially and has not ruled out a return to the game.

The story of Kovalchuk's conflict with Fraser sheds light on the importance of players having the right equipment to succeed. It also highlights the tension that can arise between players and coaches when there are differences of opinion or approach. Kovalchuk's career is full of memorable moments, and this incident with Fraser is undoubtedly one of them.

Credit: Markerzone
March 6   |   65 answers
Ilya Kovalchuk Reveals NHL Coach's Outrageous Tantrum Story

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