From the road trips to the rink, to cheering on his brothers in the stands
as a family, to facing off against his brother in the Ontario Hockey
League, hockey has been a part of his family’s routine for as long as
Gabriel Frasca can remember.
As he dons the Hockey Canada jersey for the first time at the World
Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Langley and Delta, B.C., Gabriel – a rookie
with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) – hopes to
add his chapter to his family’s hockey success.
“To be able to represent my country and represent my family, it really is
an honour to be here to learn and take it all in,” Gabriel says. “Having my
two older brothers teach and walk me through everything, it’s something
that not a lot of people have and I’m very fortunate to have my family
supporting me like that.”
Gabriel, 16, is the third of five brothers, all of whom play the game at a
high level. Oldest brother Jordan, 21, is a Pittsburgh Penguins prospect
playing with Wilkes-Barre of the American Hockey League. Next comes Jacob,
19, a member of the OHL’s Barrie Colts, with Nick, 14 (a member of the
Toronto Marlboros U15 AAA team) and Gianni, 11 (who plays with the Toronto
Titans U13 AAA squad) rounding out the Frasca Five.
Gabriel fell in love with hockey the moment he learned to skate. And as he
cheered on Jordan and Jacob, he knew it was what he wanted to do.
From that point on, it added to the long days at the rink, early-morning
road trips, balancing schedules and finding new equipment for the family,
but for mom and dad Shannon and Rocco, it has been a labour of love to
raise their sons in hockey.
They have seen how their boys have developed their love of the game over
the years, and for Gabriel, it was clear that not only is he dedicated to
being the best, but he was also someone who is supportive on and off the
“Gabriel looks out for everyone,” Shannon says. “He’s very vocal and stands
up for them and is protective over his younger brothers. He really connects
everyone together and he’s like that on his teams as well. He’s very
connected to the teams he plays on, his teammates are his best friends and
now in Kingston, you can see how much he respects and supports his
teammates when they do well.”
“He’s also a very determined person,” adds Rocco. “When he’s determined for
something, he won’t back down from what he wants.”
As a child, Gabriel joined his brothers on the ice for shinny to practice
his skating and skills. As he got older, he’s shown he can compete with the
best - first in the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) in the world as
the first in his family to wear the Maple Leaf.
After playing three years with the Mississauga Senators in the GTHL,
Gabriel became the latest Frasca to play in the OHL, going 17th overall in
the Priority Selection to the Frontenacs, where Jordan served as an
alternate captain last year before signing with the Penguins.
In one of his last games before departing for the West Coast, Gabriel had
an assist as the Frontenacs downed Jacob and the Colts 5-4 last Saturday
(Jacob also had a helper). The Frasca clan was in the building to cheer on
both boys, and they’ll be supporting from afar as Gabriel takes on the
Shannon has no doubt he’ll bring the right mindset to succeed and learn
from his opportunity with Hockey Canada.
“I tell Gabriel and my kids that their attitude is something they can
control,” she says. “If they go into opportunities and they have a good
attitude, even if things don’t always go their way, once that opportunity
comes, they’ll be ready.”
Gabriel knows he is ready. He hopes to showcase and develop his skills with
Team Canada Red and continue developing into a player that can proudly
represent his family and his country.
“I’m focused on winning with this team,” Gabriel says. “It’s about ‘we not
me’ and I want to play my role, play my game and control what I can
control. Having my family’s support, having them cheer me on and give me
feedback, it’s huge, and I want to make them proud.”