By Ed Kimberley
EIHL fans first saw Chris Frank during the 2011-2012 season when he joined the Cardiff Devils. Frank has a reputation as a hard hitting, no nonsense defenceman and a fierce competitor. Chris is also an ambassador for “Hockey Players Assemble” and he is currently hosting a ‘Movember’ event for the charity, more details are available by following the link: http://www.thehpassemble.org/projects/movember/. Chris took the time to catch up with me and chat about his hockey career thus far.
Ed Kimberley: You’re known as a physical defenceman. What was it like playing in the NCAA where there is traditionally less hitting than the CHL and Junior leagues?
Chris Frank: Playing NCAA hockey was great. It gave me four extra years to develop and and mature before I headed off to play professionally. While the NCAA doesn’t have any fighting the league is known for their huge hits. We had to wear cages and without fighting people just ran around 100 mph trying to crush people; because there was no repercussions.
EK: You were made Captain of Western Michigan University, how did the leadership role affect your game?
CF: I was honored to be a captain of WMU. I met so many great people through that organization, many of which I am still great friends with. Over the past few seasons the program has seen some real success and I’m proud to say I was at one point part of that top caliber program. Playing wise, my game stayed the same. Off the ice I had a lot more responsibility.
EK: You were drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2006 entry draft and you played some preseason games for them. Tell us about that experience.
CF: Growing up playing hockey from age 4 I always dreamed of being drafted and playing in the NHL. While I never played a regular season game, that exhibition was pretty special. I even managed to get in a fight and get beat up, so it was a win win for me. San Jose played all there top players and I just remember Joe Thornton yelling at me ‘Heads Up Kid” because he didn’t want to crush me.
EK: While playing for Elmira in the ECHL you won the Community Service award, what was that like and what did you do to receive this?
CF: It’s always nice to be recognized with awards for the work you do but my favorite part was the friendships I made while volunteering at the psychiatric hospital that season. In addition to the staff I met some incredibly interesting people and got to learn about their life experiences. The patients within those walls had some very intriguing stories…whether true or not.
EK: What attracted you to the EIHL and what has kept you coming back for the last 3 seasons?
CF: I had friends that played over here in years prior and they told me about the school packages offered. Along with the studies I wanted to do some traveling through hockey before the body gives up on me. Aside from my Welsh Mrs., I keep coming back because I love the league. The fans for each team are extremely passionate and really appreciate the hard work their players give them night in and night out. It’s a fun game over here and I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season progresses.
EK: In your career you have 88 fights, how this role fall to you?
CF: I think it would be due to my lack of scoring ability and my knack for being able to throw some hits from time to time. I don’t do it all the time, and I’m definitely not the best, but I’m a gamer when the time calls for it.
EK: Who is the toughest guy you have fought and what makes them the toughest?
CF: I would have to say Matt Kassian, because when he hit me I don’t remember what it felt like.
EK: Ryan Finnerty is coaching you again this season. After he coached you last year in Sheffield, what is he like as a coach and how important was he in your decision to sign for the Clan?
CF: Ryan is great coach to play for. He is very transparent with his expectations and will let you know when your not doing your job and let you know when you are. More than anything he sticks by his players and just wants them to work for him. He was a major part of the decision to come back as a coach is a major part of the team your playing for!
EK: Finally, what are your ambitions for this season personally and the ambition of the Clan?
CF: My ambition with the Clan and personally are the same. Do what I can for the team to win some hardware.