I recently had the good fortune to sit down and talk with Wes Fry of the Jr. Coyote AAA U18 team. Wes skates out of the Ice Den in Scottsdale and was one of two Arizona players to attend the National Development Camp in Rochester, NY.
Howlin’ Hockey: How did you get interested in hockey and what made you decide to play on a team?
Wes Fry: “Well, it all started when I was young. My sister, who currently plays division 1 hockey for Harvard, got started playing roller hockey when she was 5. She played roller for one season then decided to hit the ice. After watching her a few times, I told myself I had to do it too. She started on a house league at Chandler Polar Ice and I eventually followed in her footsteps. This was the first team I was ever on.”
HH: When did you realize you could play travel and compete at a high level?
WF: “I realized I had somewhat of a talent for the game when I started scoring multiple goals in a game on my house team. I decided I should try something a little more challenging, so I got on a Mite travel team and played a role there. This led all the way to my midget AAA hockey year.”
HH: You play forward on your Jr. Coyote team. Did you ever play other positions? If so, why move back to forward?
WF: “Yes, I am a forward. I don’t like to play any other positions. I am mainly a right winger. If my team needed me to play something else, I would do it in a heartbeat. I love being a forward because you make the play happen. You definitely experience the grit and nastiness of the game while you’re in the corners.”
HH: You talk in your profile found in the current Arizona Rubber magazine about how much you like to play on the penalty kill. Can you elaborate? Is it the structure the PK provides or the thrill from shutting down the opposition?
WF: “Yes! I LOVE the Penalty Kill. It’s a fierce 5 on 4 battle. I think I like it so much is because I am an offensive defensive forward. I love the rush of blocking a shot, going home and seeing that bruise on my leg and saying “That could have been a goal but I stopped it.”
HH: What role does your family play in your hockey life?
WF: “My family plays a humongous role in my hockey. It all started at a young age too. They were the ones who drove me to those 6 am practices and got me on those flights to tournaments. They’re huge! I get so much support and advice from my Mom and Dad. I don’t think I would be where I am today without them. Also my sister is amazing as well. It is so nice to have a sibling who plays the same sport as you. We give each other confidence and support as we understand the ups and downs of a practice and season. My Mom and Dad are in the stands for every game. (HH note: Wes’ parents film the games and tournaments (home and away) and they put the games on-line in real time for the families who cannot make the trip but want to see the game. They use a 2 camera shoot with Lynne running one of the cameras while Doug provides play by play.”
HH: You play for the AAA Jr. Coyotes. How many years have you been in the tier 1 elite level?
WF: “This will be my second year as a tier 1 elite player.”
HH: Other than your current coach, which ones have had the biggest impact on you and why?
WF: “Kent Smitke. He was a wonderful coach and taught me the basics of hockey. He was my squirt coach and now he currently helps out on my skating. Also, Brad Bayer was extremely helpful to me over a three year period. He was my coach for Team Arizona. I loved him because he never stopped pushing me as a player and a person. He taught me fundamentals and character.”
HH: You were selected to the US Jr. Development Camp in Rochester, NY as one of two Arizona players. Tell me how you found about this honor and what does this mean to you, your team, and CAHA as an organization?
WF: “I got out of school and I got the call. It was the USA hockey director congratulating me on making the camp to go to Rochester, NY. It was an amazing feeling and I just felt like I made my team and family proud of me. I felt like even the young kids at CAHA can look up to me.”
HH: Who is your favorite NHL team and who is your favorite player? Why did you choose that player?
WF: “Phoenix Coyotes!!!!!! MY favorite player is Shane Doan. I love Shane because he is such a grinder and is as dedicated as they come. He is also a leader on and off the ice. I feel like he is the only guy that will give back to the fans with a smile on his face.”
HH: What skill or talent do you wish you had that is non-hockey related?