Erik Frits, 23, is hanging up his blades after his final competitive season of playing hockey for the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles.
He will be graduating from FGCU with a degree in business management, and unlike many of his fellow players, does not have plans to play pro hockey. Frits is working at a logistics company part-time, which he hopes will help jump start his career once he graduates.
“My ultimate dream would be to play hockey for the rest of my life, but I realized a long time ago that’s not going to be the case,” Frits said.
According to Frits, pro hockey players have a good idea if they will make it to the National Hockey League by the time they are 15 or 16 years old. Frits first became involved in playing hockey while he was growing up in Erie, Pa.
“When I was 5 years old, I started skating because my older cousin played hockey,” Frits said.
This was a change from his dad and older brother, who were into wrestling. He went on to play in high school. He traveled with his team around Erie and to Pittsburgh. During his senior year of high school, he tore his ACL and meniscus causing him to miss the majority of the season. When he healed, he decided to go to Kent State in Ohio, where he played hockey. From there he decided to transfer to FGCU.
“My roommate from Kent and I decided to move down here,” said Frits, who always wanted to live in Florida.
Frits has played sports from football to lacrosse, but he feels it is way more fun playing hockey.
“It’s just a totally different feeling when you’re out there on the ice,” he said. “Nothing else matters once you’re on the ice.
“I’ll definitely keep in touch with most of the guys after school. I still keep in touch with guys I don’t even live near,” Frits continued.
Frits says he has met a lot of friends playing hockey. He is looking forward to the national championships at the end of March. Since he’s a senior, this will be his last season playing for FGCU. He feels he had a great overall season.
He says that last year was a rough season, but that the team was a lot more successful this year. With nationals only days away, Frits and the team are spending all of their team time preparing for the tournament. Frits plans on ending his hockey career at FGCU with a ring. Every FGCU player has their minds on winning the national championship, and they aren’t settling for less.