Former Raider, Carolina Hurricane trainer Friesen to be inducted into Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame

Photo from Pete Friesen’s Twitter account. Longtime Hartford Whalers and Carolina Hurricanes athletic therapist Pete Friesen (left) celebrates Carolina’s Stanley Cup win over the Edmonton Oilers with sons Jack and Chad, and daughter Taylor in 2006.

One of the longest tenured Athletic Therapists in the National Hockey League has roots in Prince Albert and will be recognized this Saturday.

Pete Friesen spent over 20 years with the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes franchise beginning in the 1996-1997 season.

He says he is honored to be inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame.

“Anytime you get recognized for 43 years in your body of work, it’s pretty special. Getting recognized by the people you grew up with, and obviously that’s where I got my mindset that led me to my career, so, (makes it) probably the most special award that I can think of.”

Friesen graduated from Carlton Comprehensive High School in 1976 and received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and education from Bemidji State University in Minnesota. He would complete his postgrad studies at the University of Saskatchewan in Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy.

From 1980-1982, Friesen worked with both the U of S Huskies and Prince Albert Raiders while also teaching at Carlton. He joined Raider head coach Terry Simpson with Team Canada at the 1985 World Junior Hockey Championships and came home with a gold medal.

Friesen gives Simpson and the Raiders a lot of credit for helping his career.

“My beginnings in sports medicine was with the 1980 Prince Albert Raiders and they gave me my first job in ice hockey under Terry Simpson and I didn’t actually know how to skate. I was very green to the sport, although I knew how to tape an ankle better than anyone. I thought it was just being cheap, but he allowed me to be the equipment manager, the trainer, the physio, and even if I wanted to: the bus driver.

“I thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty diverse’. What happened is that I carried a lot of those job hats through my whole career. I’m pretty much the only person that was ever the head strength coach, the trainer and massage therapist for a professional hockey team. So, I got that sort of those job descriptions from Terry.”

Friesen would serve as the head trainer with the University of Saskatchewan from 1986-1992 before he moved to the Glen Satpart Sports Medicine Clinic in Edmonton. Friesen spent five years in the Alberta capital.

Friesen’s work would be recognized, and the NHL’s Hartford Whalers came calling. The Whalers would hire Friesen for the 1996-1997 season, their final season in Connecticut. He would stay on with the franchise as they relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina. Friesen and spent close to 21 years with the franchise as their Head Athletic Trainer/Strength and Conditioning Coach, including Carolina’s 2006 Stanley Cup championship season.

He says he has a lot of memories about being around the Hurricanes during his tenure there.

“I’ve been involved with a lot of camaraderie, and team building, just being around winners. That’s a pretty special thing that you carry with you. It was a lot of great experiences. Not just winning a Stanley Cup, which is a big deal in itself, but it was all those trials and tribulations to get there during that year, which made very special memories.”

Other career highlights for Friesen include going to 10 IIHF World Championships, earning five gold medals. He has also served as the USA Women’s Hockey strength and conditioning coach.

Friesen currently practices Physiotherapy and lectures at the UNC School of Physiotherapy, East Carolina University, Campbell University, Duke University and NC State University.