Jason Fram was a wee tyke of 6 or 7 years old when he announced to his mother that he wanted to play hockey.
“I have no idea what that is,” was the comeback of Margaret Fram, a Singapore native who came to Canada as a university student.
Years later, Jason Fram developed into a player on the rise and his mother became a team manager and ice allocator, assigning times to different teams.
“My parents always wanted me to do the best in everything,” Fram said. … “Even if I got an ‘A’ they’d say, ‘What kind of A? A high A or a low A?’ ”
Jason would reply: “Oh, I got 90 percent.”
“What happened to the other 10 percent?” was a typical response.
Fram has mixed the hard work and discipline instilled by his parents to become an up-and-coming player in the Western Hockey League for the Spokane Chiefs. He was also the Chiefs’ scholastic player of the year last season.
The third-year defenseman has surpassed last year’s points total of 15, which he amassed in 60 games. Through 17 games this season, Fram ranks third among Chiefs with 14 assists and fourth in points with 16.
Fram added 15 pounds of muscle over the summer, motivated by the notion that the Chiefs were exposed as too soft during last year’s postseason.
This year the Chiefs (12-5-0-0) have allowed 44 goals, making them the third-stingiest team in the 22-team WHL.
“We’re not being pushed around and we’re holding our own, being able to push guys off pucks and win battles down low,” Fram said.
Fram became a defenseman as a novice player at age 9 or 10. His coach noted his natural ability at skating backward. Fram noticed that nobody else wanted to play defense, so he saw an opportunity for more ice time.
The Chiefs selected Fram in the eighth round of the 2010 bantam draft. As a 15-year-old he played near his home of South Delta, British Columbia, for the Greater Vancouver Canadians of the BCMML (major midget league).
His first game with the Chiefs as a 16-year-old was a special trip back to Vancouver. During his second game, at Kamloops, he recorded his first WHL goal.
“I started creeping in off the point and Mitch (Holmberg) was walking up the wall,” Fram said. “He hit me backdoor and I scored. I was shaking. I had no idea what was going on. I was like, ‘Was that in?’ ”
Fram’s parents attempt to see him play twice a year in Spokane. They make as many road games as they can in Seattle, Everett, Victoria and Kelowna.
Rod Fram, who grew up England playing field hockey, rugby and cricket, started Transpacific Realty Advisors in 2008. Margaret is an accountant and business analyst.
Jason, who lives with a billet family in Spokane Valley, has begun online courses with Athabasca (Alberta) University.
For the long commute, his parents bought him a Subaru Impreza to reward his hard work. Fram vows to continue that trait with the Chiefs.
“We just know we have to bring our complete effort,” he said. “We can’t slack off, or else we’re going to get beat.”