Alaska Aces (ECHL)
|2014–15 ECHL season|
|Founded||1989 (In the PSHL)|
|Home arena||Sullivan Arena|
Black, glacier blue, green, silver, white
|Owner(s)||Terry Parks, Steve Adams, Al Haynes, Dan Coffey, Rod Udd, Jerry Mackey|
|General manager||Terry Parks|
|Head coach||Rob Murray|
|Affiliates||Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues (NHL)
Iowa Wild (AHL)
|1995–2003||Anchorage Aces (WCHL)|
|2003–present||Alaska Aces (ECHL)|
|Regular season titles||5 (2005–06, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14)|
|Division Championships||8 (2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14)|
|Conference Championships||4 (2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2013–14)|
|Kelly Cups||3 (2005–06, 2010–11, 2013-14)|
- For the professional basketball team, see Alaska Aces (PBA).
The Alaska Aces, previously known as Anchorage Aces, are a minor league ice hockey team in Anchorage, Alaska. Home games are played at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. They are the defending ECHL Kelly Cup champions.
The Alaska Aces were originally part of the West Coast Hockey League (WCHL), but when the WCHL was absorbed by the East Coast Hockey League in 2003, the team joined the merged ECHL. The Aces official team mascot is a polar bear named Boomer. Aces fans are known for using small, ceremonial cow bells painted with the Aces insignia to show their support during games.
The Alaska Aces hockey team was established in 1989, as the Anchorage Aces. They were originally a semi-professional club in the Pacific Southwest Hockey League. The team was organized by Dennis Sorenson, as a senior men's ice hockey team to compete against the Fairbanks Gold Kings.
The Aces played four unofficial games during in the 1989–90 season. During the 1990–1991 season, Keith Street led the team on a 22–game schedule, which included 20 games against teams registered with USA Hockey. The 1990–1991 season ended with the Aces winning the Senior Men's Open National Championship held in Fairbanks. In 1993 and 1994, they won the National Amateur Championship. They finished second in 1992 and 1995.
Pacific Northwest Hockey League
The Aces joined the Pacific Northwest Hockey League for the 1991–1992 season, playing six of their home games at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage and eight at the Central Peninsula Sports Center in Soldotna. The Aces finished second in the PNHL with a 16–12–2 regular season record, and were the runners-up in the national USA Hockey tourney after a 0–4–1 tourney run.
In the 1992–93 season, new head coach Mike Ashley led the Aces to a 19–3–0 regular season record. In the USA Hockey Senior Men's Open Tournament, the Aces finished second for the second year in a row after compiling a 4–1 record in the tourney, losing the tiebreaker to the Chicago Chargers. Ashley resigned following the season.
For the 1993–94 season, Steve Gasparini took over as head coach, and led the Aces to a 22–9–1 regular season record. The Aces also won their second championship in the USA Hockey Senior Men's Open National Tournament with a 5–0 run highlighted by the 6–0 rout of the Fresno Falcons. In 1994–95, the team went 27–9 and lost in the championship game to the Gold Kings.
West Coast Hockey League
After an unsuccessful attempt to form a new Pacific Rim Hockey League, the Aces joined the new West Coast Hockey League (WCHL) for the 1995–96 season. Mike Cusack, Jr. became sole owner of the franchise following the 1995–96 season.
In the 1996–97 season, the Aces initially lost in the league playoffs to the Fresno Falcons, three games to one. The WCHL commissioner determined that their 2–4 loss in game four would be changed to a 1–0 victory due to forfeit by the Fresno Falcons, when they failed to meet the minimum roster requirement due to injuries and suspensions. The Aces won the deciding fifth game 5–3 and advanced to the Taylor Cup.
- Stirling Wright
In the 2000–01 season, Stirling Wright was brought in to serve as assistant coach. He was instrumental in bringing in former NHL players when the Aces signed former NHL goalie Vincent Riendeau and right wing Kevin Brown. The Idaho Steelheads defeated the Aces 3–0 in the first round of the playoffs. Overall, the Aces finished in third place with a 34–30–4 record and advanced to the semifinals, only to be ousted by Tacoma in three games.
In 2001–2002, Wright was promoted within the franchise and began serving as the new General Manager. He hired former NHL coach and player Butch Goring as the team's new head coach. In effort to revamp the team, Wright only extended the contracts of four players from the previous season. The Aces additionally signed five former NHL players, including defenseman Jim Paek, goaltender Scott Bailey, wingers Todd Harkins and Daniel Goneau, and center Clayton Beddoes.
Clayton Beddoes retired just a few games into the season due to a previous shoulder injury. The Aces promoted a "Guaranteed Win Night" where if they lost the game, the fans in attendance would receive free Aces tickets.
- Mike Cusack
After a 10–18–4 season start, Aces' owner, Mike Cusack, fired Goring and Lou Corletto, who served the franchise as Vice President of Business Operations. He brought back former head coach, Walt Poddubny. Stirling Wright stepped down as general manager, due to his disapproval of the owner's decisions. The Aces went on to win only a few more games and the mass exodus of players soon followed, after Wright left the team. The team itself was making a profit, but the owner's other financial ventures continued to drain the team of its revenue.
In May 2002, the team owner filed personal bankruptcy. Cusick included his ownership of the Anchorage Aces franchise in the filing. According to the filing papers, the team was almost $2 million in debt.
In June 2002, Cusick put the team up for sale on eBay. The club's owner, Cusack, accepted a $1.862 million bid from Duncan Harrison, owner of Alaskan Automotive Distributing in Anchorage, but U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge Donald MacDonald converted the Aces' bankruptcy case to Chapter 7, which allowed him to reject the Harrison bid.
The listing was withdrawn when it was discovered that a US$2.3 million bid was a college student's prank.
The club was eventually sold for $1.05 million to a seven-member group.
The Aces joined the ECHL for the 2003–04 season following a merger between the WCHL and the East Coast Hockey League. They were renamed the Alaska Aces after the league switch, and unveiled a new logo and new uniforms.
The team gained national prominence in 2004 when it signed New Jersey Devils all-star and Alaska-born Scott Gomez after the NHL lockout, who went on to lead the ECHL in scoring and win league Most Valuable Player honors.
In 2006, the Aces became only the second team in ECHL history (joining the South Carolina Stingrays of Charleston, SC) in winning both the Brabham Cup and Kelly Cup championships in the same season. (In 2008, the Cincinnati Cyclones became the third team to accomplish this feat and in 2011 the Alaska Aces did it again, becoming the first team to ever do it twice.)
The Aces play in the West Division of the ECHL's National Conference.
In 2006, Alaska won the ECHL Kelly Cup title in five games over the Gwinnett Gladiators. This was the first professional sports title won by an Alaskan team since the Anchorage Northern Knights won the Continental Basketball Association championship in 1980. Mike Scott received the ECHL Kelly Cup MVP award after the Aces' 4-3 win over the Gladiators in Game Five of the series.
In 2009, the Aces stormed through the first three rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, winning in five games against both the Utah Grizzlies and the Victoria Salmon Kings in the first two rounds, and sweeping the Las Vegas Wranglers in the National Conference Finals. They were in the Kelly Cup Finals for the first time since their championship season in 2006, but they lost 4 games to 3 to the South Carolina Stingrays.
In 2011, the Aces dominated the entire season, having the best record in the league, and leading the league in points scored, winning the Brabham Cup. Wes Goldie lead the league in goals scored. In the Kelly Cup Playoffs, they swept the Idaho Steelheads and Victoria Salmon Kings, and then won the Kelly Cup Championship over the Kalamazoo Wings in five games.
The Aces would win the Kelly Cup by defeating the Cyclones 4 games to 2.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, SOL = Shootout losses, Pts = Points, PCT = Winning percentage, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|1995–96||WCHL||WCHL||58||24||29||0||5||0||53||0.414||271||299||1758||Steve Gasparini||Out of playoffs|
|1996–97||WCHL||WCHL||64||41||18||0||5||0||87||0.641||349||260||2142||Walt Poddubny||Lost in Finals|
|1997–98||WCHL||WCHLN||64||36||20||0||8||0||80||0.562||308||261||2075||Walt Poddubny||Lost in round 2|
|1998–99||WCHL||WCHLN||71||46||22||0||3||0||95||0.648||332||260||1759||Walt Poddubny||Lost in round 2|
|1999–00||WCHL||WCHLN||74||31||34||0||9||0||71||0.419||272||334||1828||Walt Poddubny, Bob Wilkie,
Derek Donald, Steve MacSwain
|Out of playoffs|
|2000–01||WCHL||WCHLN||72||27||41||0||4||0||58||0.375||264||324||1820||Walt Poddubny, Stirling Wright||Out of playoffs|
|2001–02||WCHL||WCHLN||72||19||44||0||9||0||47||0.264||222||350||1573||Butch Goring, Stirling Wright,
|Lost in round 1|
|2002–03||WCHL||WCHL||72||21||46||0||5||0||47||0.292||210||327||1926||Rod Davidson, Perry Florio||Out of Playoffs|
|2003–04||ECHL||Pacific||72||38||28||6||0||0||82||0.569||220||210||1648||Davis Payne||Lost in round 2|
|2004–05||ECHL||West||72||45||19||8||0||0||98||0.681||233||187||1389||Davis Payne||Lost in round 3|
|2005–06||ECHL||West||72||53||12||7||0||0||113||0.785||289||168||1786||Davis Payne||Kelly Cup Champions|
|2006–07||ECHL||West||72||49||16||7||0||0||105||0.729||270||176||1972||Davis Payne||Lost in round 3|
|2007–08||ECHL||West||72||41||26||0||4||1||87||0.604||245||249||1319||Keith McCambridge||Lost round 2|
|2008–09||ECHL||West||72||45||24||1||2||0||93||0.646||232||181||1537||Keith McCambridge||Lost in Finals|
|2009–10||ECHL||West||72||36||28||0||4||4||80||0.556||232||240||1566||Brent Thompson||Lost in round 1|
|2010–11||ECHL||Mountain||72||47||22||0||2||1||97||0.674||241||174||947||Brent Thompson||Kelly Cup Champions|
|2011–12||ECHL||Mountain||72||43||18||0||3||8||97||0.674||224||172||929||Rob Murray||Lost in round 3|
|2012–13||ECHL||Mountain||72||49||15||0||4||4||106||0.736||228||172||1086||Rob Murray||Lost in round 2|
|2013-14||ECHL||Mountain||71||45||19||0||3||4||97||0.683||243||164||989||Rob Murray||Kelly Cup Champions|
Updated December 8, 2013
|Head Coach||Rob Murray|
|Assistant Coach/Strength and Conditioning Coach||Louis Mass|
|Head Athletic Trainer||Tyson Salley|
|Equipment Manager||Michael Burkhead|
|Play-by-Play Announcer||Mike Benton|
|Player||Position||GP for the Aces (including playoff games)|
|Joey Crabb||Right Wing||35|
|Barrett Heisten||Left Wing||182|
|Wade Brookbank||Left Wing/Defense||72|
|Wes Goldie||Right Wing||165|
|B. J. Young||Right Wing||144|
|D. J. King||Left Wing||5|
- Keith Street – #8
- Wes Goldie – #16
- Dean Larson – #18
- Stott, Jon C. (2006). Hockey Night in Dixie: Minor Pro Hockey in the American South. Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd. pp. 180, 182. ISBN 978-1-894974-21-9.
- "Flames, Heat announce affiliation with Alaska Aces". Calgary Flames. August 21, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
- "Annual ECHL Board of Governors Meeting concludes", ECHL, June 24, 2014. (accessed 24 June 2014)
- Hockeydb.com, Anchorage Aces season statistics and records 1995–2003.
- Hockeydb.com, Anchorage Aces season statistics and records 2003-Present.
- "Players". alaskaaces.com. Retrieved 2014-04-24.
- Alaska Aces Staff Listing
Media related to Alaska Aces at Wikimedia Commons
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