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Colts’ Frasca has his ‘mojo’ back, and he’s ready for a big year on the ice

"It's what I live for, what I wake up for, and I love it"

As he jolts up and down the ice, the huge smile on his face says it all with Jacob Frasca.

The Barrie Colts veteran forward ripped up scrimmages in training camp and has four points in four OHL exhibition games, but more importantly, he’s fully healthy and is back on the ice enjoying the game he loves.

Thankfully, a long way from the frustration and disappointment he felt last season when concussion issues forced the 19-year-old to miss most of the second-half of the regular season and instead spend his time in dark rooms and failing concussion tests.

“I’m feeling 100 per cent,” said the six-foot-four, 214-pound Caledon native who got into just 30 games last year. “I had a big summer and took some time after playoffs. I thought we had a good playoffs with, obviously, the exception of the result, but the future looked bright.

“I had a big summer and then came back, and getting to see everyone, play with everyone and seeing everyone’s face. It’s a fun time, and it’s fun being a Colt here in Barrie.”

Frasca says he has never been through anything like what he experienced last year. It was a learning experience, to say the least.

He had his first concussion and then with COVID and everything, he then got another.

“I have to give myself some credit that I persevered and got back before the playoffs and then made an impact in the playoffs,” he said. “Even this summer, I took some time off.

“It was definitely frustrating, but I can’t think too much about the past. I just have to be all in the future here and play in the present and I’ll be good to go.”

The Colts expected big things from their big power forward last season. Colts head coach Marty Williamson knows the presence the big forward brings and how he can be a difference maker on the ice.

Seeing Frasca smiling again, having fun and dominating out there in camp and exhibition play shows Frasca is set to have a big year, and the thought of that brings a pretty big smile to the coach’s face.

“That’s what we’re hoping,” said Williamson ahead of Saturday night’s final preseason game against the Attack in Owen Sound. “We thought he was going to be a heck of a player for us last year and a real dominate guy this year, and then last year kind of went off the rails for him a little bit.

“He worked hard this summer and came back in good shape, and we think he can fill a lot of needs that we need in our forward group.”

Frasca went through concussion protocol twice last season. He returned from one concussion only to get in a scuffle in Mississauga and get another.

He had a hard time passing his concussion tests, taking them 12 times. He couldn’t pass it.

“It was obviously a frustrating time finding out the next day you failed the test again,” recalled Frasca. “You always want to play, you always want to be part of the boys in the locker room. It’s the best part about hockey, seeing all your friends and hanging out with them every day, and I missed that for a fair bit, and it was definitely frustrating.

“I wasn’t able to skate or do weights or anything. I just had to take some time off, go to therapy. Basically, find my mojo again.”

He felt he was going to have a big year.

“I thought at the start of the season I was there, and then I lost it with the concussions and then found it again,” he said. “This year is all about staying healthy, and I’ll be a big part of this team if I just do that.”

Frasca only has to look at his brother for inspiration in knowing his dreams of playing pro hockey are still possible.

Jordan Frasca was a late bloomer. He totalled 10 goals in two seasons with Windsor, but after being traded to Kingston, he would score 57 goals and 130 points over two seasons with the Frontenacs.

His 42-goal season as an overager landed him a free agent NHL contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“There does seem to be some similarities and his brother had a very good 19-year-old year and a huge 20-year-old year, and we’re hoping for the same kind of steps forward,” Williamson said. “He shoots the puck well and does so many good things.

“He can play the centre or wing and there’s opportunity for him. We use him on the power play, the penalty kill, and he’s great on face-offs. That’s the type of guy we need.”

Jordan played a leading role with Kingston and that’s exactly what Frasca wants for himself in Barrie. Be the guy the team can depend on in any situation, night-in and night-out.

“I have to give him credit,” Frasca said of Jordan. “He was a late pick, a late bloomer and went 7th round (to Windsor) in the OHL. He played Jr. B in his first year and then signed an NHL contract. He just stuck with it. He’s a big believer in the mental side of the game. He loves reading and watching podcasts and listening to different things, and I learned a lot from him.

“He’s one of the smartest hockey players I know, and it’s good that I get to live with him and call him a brother, and I have him right there if I need anything with one quick phone call. It’s good to have that in your family.”

Now it’s his turn. Frasca knows he can make a major contribution to the Colts lineup, and he’s confident he can deliver.

“Obviously, you have that feeling, and you always think about it,” he said. “Just stick to your game and stay out of the politics of hockey and just focus on yourself and play every day like it’s your last. Just enjoy going to the rink every day and there’s going to be good results, and you’re going to break out.

“I’m a big body and I know that I’m there physically, but if I stay on the hockey side mentally – last year that slipped away a little bit with the concussions – but if I stay on it this year I’ll be able to break out for sure.”

Every day is another day Frasca can play hockey. Last year is behind him. He’s got his “mojo” back and the dream continues.

“Hockey is a fun sport. I have a lot of heart and passion that this is my life,” Frasca said. “I have four brothers and the five of us all play hockey. Hockey is my life and to be able to smile and laugh about it and win games and score goals, be a big part of a team in a hockey situation and play all situations, it’s fun.

It’s what I live for, what I wake up for, and I love it.”

ICE CHIPS: Decision time is coming as the eight players away at NHL training camps return. Prospects Kashawn Aitcheson, Carter Lowe and Luke Ellinas along with invites Teegan Dumont and Callum Chisholm are all hoping to stick around. “For those guys, that’s their big opportunity to make this hockey team,” Williamson said. “Whether it’s a big role or small role, we’re looking at three or four guys, maybe one defenceman that maybe if they show they can play in the league then it gives us the depth we need.”. . . Captain Brandt Clarke has impressed at Los Angeles Kings camp and is certain to get a long look. “We think we got a really good blueline, but Brandt makes it special.” The decision on keeping Aitcheson could come down to whether Clarke returns. “Right now (Keyshawn’s) shown he can play in this league,” said Williamson of the young defenceman. “Nothing seems to phase him. He reminds me an awful lot of (returnee Grayson Tiller) and we’re obviously impressed with the way Tiller has come in this year.” A second-round pick, Lowe has also impressed. “He’s a big man that can really skate,” said the Colts head coach. “We’re just thinking is it best to have a bigger role with a junior team that includes power play and so on, or to be with us.”

banner image – Terry Wilson/OHL IMAGES