Saturday, November 20, 2010
Dan Fritsche was born in the Cleveland suburb of Parma, Ohio in 1985 and played junior hockey with the Cleveland Jr. Barons of the NAHL in 2000-01. From there he moved to the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League in Canadian Junior hockey.
Fritsche played 61 games with Sarnia in 2002-03, scoring 32 goals and 71 points in 61 games which led to the Ohioan being drafted 46th overall in the second round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Fritsche with the Sarnia Sting
He generated quite a number of game worn jerseys in 2003-04 by first earning a roster spot in training camp with the Blue Jackets. He played in 19 games, which included scoring his first NHL goal on this date in 2003, making him the first Ohio native to score a goal for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
At Christmas time, Fritsche joined Team USA at the World Junior Championships in Helsinki, Finland where he score four points in six games as the United States captured the gold medal over Canada 4-3 in the final.
At the conclusion of the World Juniors, Fritsche was returned to Sarnia by the Blue Jackets, where he woudl score 29 points in 27 games. Once Sarnia's season concluded, Fritsche joined the Blue Jackets top minor league club, the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL for the final four regular season games plus four additional playoff games.
With the 2004-05 lockout taking away the NHL season, Fritsche returned to Sarnia once more, but was traded to the London Knights. He scored 35 points in 28 regular season games for the high powered Knights, who finished the regular season with a dominant 59-7-2 record. London blitzed the OHL in the playoffs and Fritsche contributed 22 points in 17 playoff games, fourth on the club, as they captured the 2005 Memorial Cup.
With the NHL back in business for 2005-06, Fritsche split time with Syracuse (19 games) and Columbus, where he played in 59 games and scored six goals and 13 points. He would stick with the Blue Jackets for the next two seasons, with his best being 2006-07 when he scored 12 goals and 27 points while seeing action in 59 games.
Following the 2007-08 season, Fritsche was included in a trade along with Nikolai Zherdev to the New York Rangers. He found little ice time waiting for him in New York and got into only 16 games with the Rangers by late January prior to being traded to the Minnesota Wild, where he played in 34 games and scored nine points.
He became a free agent at the conclusion of the season and signed with the Blue Jackets organization, once more returning to Syracuse where he played 67 games with the Crunch, scoring 42 points, good for second on the team.
Fritsche during his return to Syracuse in 2009-10
At the start of the 2010-11 season, Fritsche followed the footsteps of his uncle John Fritsche, and played in Switzerland for Geneve Servette in the Swiss National League A.
Fritsche wearing the colors of Geneve Servette
Through the end of last season, Fritsche remains the highest scoring Ohio native in Blue Jackets history, with 63 points in 206 games, 22nd overall in the nine seasons of the club. Other Ohioans to have skated for the Blue Jackets are Brett Harkins (from North Ridgeville, 14 points in 25 games in 2001-02), Mike Rupp (Cleveland, 6 pts in 39 games in 2005-06), Brian Holzinger (Parma, 1 point in 13 games in 2003-04) and Ben Simon (Shaker Heights, no points in 13 games in 2005-06).
Today's featured jersey is a 2006-07 Columbus Blue Jackets Dan Fritsche jersey. The Blue Jackets original jerseys featured cartoonish secondary logo of the head of their team mascot "Stinger". Their jerseys were originally made by CCM/Koho and were adorned with the Blue Jackets Inaugural Season patch.
For 2003-04, an alternate jersey was introduced with a new main logo and Stinger was replaced on the shoulders of the home and road jerseys with the new alternate jersey logo on the left shoulder and a Civil War cap on the right.
Coming out of the lockout, the jerseys remained the same, but were now branded as Reebok for two seasons before the league-wide wholesale change to the Edge jerseys beginning in 2007.
Today's video segment is Fritsche scoring on a breakaway during a delayed penalty call while with the Minnesota Wild.