Monday, April 7, 2014

Player Profile - Amateur Signee Cain Franson

Cain Franson
Cain played his 1st professional game last Wednesday - photo by

The newest member of the Allen Americans is Cain Franson who just completed his junior career two weeks ago. Cain played four seasons with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League and had a total of 181 points (89 goals, 92 assists) in 246 games. Franson finished this season with a career-high of 30 goals, 33 assists, and 63 points. Cain has played all three forward positions, is a left shot and just turned 21 years old on March 25. 

Cain is from a small community in southeast British Columbia by the name of Sicamous, located adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway where Mara Lake empties into Shuswap Lake via a short narrows. Sicamous is a resort town and is the eastern gateway to the Shuswap. With over 1,000 km of shoreline surrounding Sicamous it styles itself as the Houseboat Capital of Canada. It has a population of about 2500.

Cain started his junior career in Vancouver in 2010-2011 as a slight built  6' 2" 160 pounder and struggled his first year getting only 3 goals and 3 assists in 50 games. The article below was written in the summer of 2012 and describes what happened after Cain's first year in junior hockey with Vancouver.

Brotherly love, where would Cain Franson be without it?
The Vancouver Giants forward was pretty much a mess during his rookie Western Hockey League season in 2010-11. He was a fourth-liner, a frequent healthy scratch and a rare offensive contributor with just three goals and three assists in 50 games.
He admitted he had doubts about his ability to make an impact at the major junior level. But big brother Cody, a Giants alumnus and current Toronto Maple Leaf, was having none of it. He took Cain with him to Kelowna to train last summer at Crash Conditioning and whatever magic dust was sprinkled on Cain, it worked.
Cain improved from six points to 58 and provided vital secondary scoring for the Giants behind NHL draft picks Brendan Gallagher and Marek Tvrdon. Not surprisingly, Cain had no intention of changing his routine during the summer of 2012. So each week he traveled from the family home in Sicamous to Cody’s house in Kelowna for Monday-to-Friday workouts.
“No, ha, he didn’t charge me rent,” Franson chuckled this week at Giants’ training camp in Ladner. “And he helped me out with my training fee, which was pretty expensive. I still had to be accountable for my living expenses and whatnot but Cody has been really good to me. I wouldn’t be where I am without him.”
The Franson brothers are different in almost every respect on the ice. Cody, is a sturdy 6-5, 215-pound defenceman while Cain, is a slightly built 6-2, 176-pound left-winger. Cody was a third-round NHL draft pick of the Nashville Predators while Cain has twice been passed over as both a 17- and 18-year-old.

Cain's hard work during the summers made him stronger and faster and the hard work paid off as he was twice invited to the Vancouver Canucks' summer prospect camp. He has been better in traffic and more physical every season for the Giants. That's in part because he now has 183 pounds on his 6' 2" frame after checking in at 160 four years ago.

Cain is the youngest son of  Cal and  Karen Franson. He has a sister, Colbie, who is three years older, was a figure skater and taught figure skating but is now going to school to become a policewomen. His brother, (six years older) Cody, is a defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Cain's mom runs a meat shop in the nearby community of Salmon Arm. Cain's dad had the perfect job for a young hockey player as his dad has worked at the local ice rink for close to 30 years. When Cal Franson got a job at the Sicamous & District Recreation Centre he was not thinking that he would be cleaning the ice for future professional players like Cody and Cain. He was just trying to avoid getting a "real job." Over the years, the arena would become a second home for the family. Sometimes Cal would take the three kids out of school to skate on the ice. Often they would sit on his lap while he drove the Zamboni.  "It was pretty much like having a rink in your own backyard," Cal Franson says, Even better. Especially during the Christmas holidays, they would be on the ice four or five hours a day. They never ever got bored. Since Sicamous is such a small tight-knit community there was plenty of ice time for all of the kids. Besides Cody, NHLers Shea Weber, Colin Fraser, and Kris Beech all got their start at the rink.

Here are Cain's answers to a few get to know you questions.

Describe Your Style of Play: I am an offensive player but I think I can play well in all three zones. I had to learn to play defense when I started in Vancouver. I came from such a small program in Sicamous I didn't even know what a "system" was. When I was young I could take the puck and do whatever I wanted. I am an offensive threat, I see the ice well and have a good skill set. My defensive game has come a long way in the last couple of years so I think I am a complete player.

Do You Have Any Pets: We have a black lab - collie mix named Franny.

What is Your Nickname: Franny

Hockey Hero: I have grown up a Leafs fan as my uncle is a diehard Toronto fan. I always liked Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour.

Earliest Hockey Memory: One of my earliest memories was when I was about eight my uncle coached a team in the neighboring town of Armstrong and was short a player so he asked me to play and we won the tournament.

When Did You Start Skating: I don't ever remember not being on skates. My dad had me on skates very young but did not let me play hockey until I was five. He wanted me to learn how to skate so it was about five years of skating before hockey.

Favorite Actor: Comedian would be Will Ferrell and serious actor would be Will Smith.

Favorite Actress: Reese Witherspoon

Favorite Type of Music: I like everything from country to techno to rap.

Favorite Singer/Group: I have been listening to a lot of Luke Bryan lately.

If You Could Go To Lunch With Anyone Living Who Would You Pick: Will Farrell would be fun to have lunch with.

Something People Would Be Surprised To Know About You: I am a pretty skinny guy but when I was born I weighed 13 pounds.

What Chore Do You Absolutely Hate To Do: Take out the garbage.

Something That Has Great Value To You But Little Value To Anyone Else: Playing minor hockey in a small town like Sicamous.. There were only eight or nine guys on my team. I am still great buddies with all of them. A lot of kids would not have been happy playing in such a small hockey organization. It wasn't the best hockey growing up but I still cherish it to this day.

Who Do You Admire as a Leader: The best captain I have ever had was last year in Vancouver. His name was Wes Vannieuwenhuizen.

The Most Interesting Place You Have Ever Visited: Nashville, Tennessee

If You Could Live In Another Country For Two Years Where Would You Live: Germany

If You Could Be Anything Besides a Pro Hockey Player What Would It Be: Fireman or Policeman.

Any Pregame Rituals or Superstitions: I have a lot of them and get grief from my teammates all of the time. I always get dressed from right to left, I am a big knock on wood type of guy, before I use any tape I always rip off a piece and go fresh, I like to wet my shin pads and gloves before every game.

Who Is Your Number One Fan: My mom.

What Do You Like To Do Away From The Rink: I got into the video game called "Call of Duty" and played that with my teammates in Vancouver a lot. I am a big movie guy so Netflix is a favorite. I also enjoy golf.

Favorite Childhood Toy: We had a toy corvette that you could pedal around and we drove the heck out of that corvette.

Favorite Motto Or Saying: My brother shared one with me that I always remember and try to live by. Control what you can control and don't get too high on the highs and don't get too low on the lows.

Favorite TV Show: I was really into "One Tree Hill" a couple of years ago. Now I like "Suits" and "Breaking Bad."

It was great to sit down with Cain and get to know him a little bit. It must be difficult to find your own way in hockey living in the shadow of a big brother who is an NHL star. Cain doesn't see it as a burden whatsoever, he appreciates all Cody has done to help him and is looking forward to making the most of a professional career. It will be fun to follow his journey. If you are on twitter you can follow Cain at: @frannyy12.

Cain Franson #51 - photo by

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