Woody on Hockey

Alaska is hockey heaven -- the Alaska Aces are perennial ECHL contenders, the UAA Seawolves play in the nation's premier college league and NHL star Scott Gomez headlines a contingent of pros. Join the conversation about the Aces and Alaska hockey with Doyle Woody, who has covered the game here at all levels for 29 years.

Contact: dwoody@adn.com

Here's a historically encouraging way of looking at UAA's WCHA series in Grand Forks - 10/25/2012 3:43 pm

Aces: Ambroz released (Plus, Courchaine note) - 10/25/2012 1:26 pm

Aces: Gee, those are some decent linemates Imbeault just got; plus, numbers changes - 10/25/2012 10:45 am

Aces add a defenseman in fourth-year pro Alain Goulet - 10/25/2012 9:59 am

A bunch of Alaska connections play in the Austrian League where Alexandre Imbeault began the season - 10/24/2012 5:41 pm

Man, UAA's Early Schedule Is Odd - 10/24/2012 5:07 pm

Former Aces Center Imbeault Is Now Current Aces Center Imbeault (UPDATED) - 10/24/2012 1:16 pm

North Pole's Copley Is WCHA Rookie Of The Week - 10/23/2012 12:19 pm

Former Aces Kelly Cup MVP Scott Howes Signs With CHL Allen

Well, this caught The Blog by surprise -- former Alaska Aces winger Scott Howes, who spent nearly all of last season in the AHL, has signed with the Central Hockey League's Allen Americans, the team announced.

Man, that's a huge get for a CHL club.

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Tracking Former Aces (Martin, McBride, Gaudet)

Former Alaska Aces defenseman Derick Martin, one of the real good guys, has found a new home -- the veteran has signed with the ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears.

Martin, who played parts of three seasons with the Aces before he was traded, spent last season with ECHL Utah and the one before that with ECHL Victoria (now defunct).

In Martin, the expansion Solar Bears get a shut-down defenseman, strong leader and a total pro.

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Anchorage D-Man Bryant Molle Headed To ECHL Reading

Defenseman Bryant Molle of Anchorage, who made his pro debut with the Alaska Aces two seasons ago and as a rookie last season won a Presidents' Cup with the Central Hockey League's Fort Wayne Komets, has signed with ECHL Reading, the club announced.

Molle, 25, played four seasons with the UAF Nanooks.

The 6-foot-3 Molle last season furnished the Komets with 1-5--6 and +23 totals in 60 regular-season games, and 1-4--5 and -1 totals in 16 playoff games.

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Some Quick Pro Notes (Meyers, Foreman, Karlander)

Just a quick note to, well, note that former UAF Nanooks forward Ron Meyers has re-upped with ECHL Idaho.

Last season he hooked up with the Steelheads after his college career finished and racked 3-4--7 totals in 12 regular-season games and 2-3--5 totals in 10 playoff games.

The Blog is still slightly peeved Meyers wasn't voted Most Outstanding Player at UAA's tournament a couple-three seasons ago, when he was dynamite as a penalty killer. If memory serves, the honor went to eventual Alaska Aces center (briefly) Dion Knelsen.

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Aces Sign 2 More (Returner Reid, Newcomer Hughes) UPDATED

Another couple of signings announced today by the Alaska Aces: returning goaltender James Reid and newcomer forward Bobby Hughes.

Reid, 21, finally found a home as a rookie with the Aces late last season after stops in CHL Allen and AHL Lake Erie. He was the third-man-out in the goaltending situation in Lake Erie, so getting to Anchorage and getting some games – remember, this was when Aces goaltender Gerald Coleman, already signed for 2012-13 by the club, was lighting it up for Lake Erie – was the best thing that happened to him in his first pro season.

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A Bunch Of Dudes Find Jobs (Bruijsten, Turek, Greentree, Etc).

The Blog has been out of the office for a few days, mostly at home whining about his old man's back, and in that time several dudes with Alaska connections have turned up with new jobs.

Former UAA winger Mitch Bruijsten, unceremoniously sent home from the WCHA playoffs last spring for failing to meet his academic responsibilities, which sounds an awful lot like not going to class, is back in his home country, The Netherlands, where he will play for the Geleen Smoke Eaters, which is a pretty cool name, though the league he will be playing in is very low-level pro.

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Aces: 2 Newcomers Signed

The Alaska Aces today announced the signings of two low-profile players who become the first newcomers the ECHL club has revealed for the upcoming season.

The Aces have signed forward Tom Mele and defenseman Todd Orlando. Both are 26, and yet fairly new to the pro game.

Mele, a 6-foot, 175-pounder from the Bronx, won a Central Hockey League championship with the Fort Wayne Komets. He earned 7-11—18 totals, a +11 rating and racked 64 penalty minutes in 52 regular-season games last season, then went 2-3—5 in 17 playoff games.

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Anchorage's Trupp Re-Ups with ECHL Bakersfield

Winger Evan Trupp will return to the ECHL's Bakersfield Condors, the club announced.

Trupp, 24, found his niche in Bako after a trade from Cincy last season when he was a rookie.

In Bako, he racked 10-12--22 totals and a +5 rating in 25 games after earning 2-10--12 and +2 totals in 20 games for the Cyclones.

Unfortunately, he missed about one-third of the season injured. Still, very solid numbers for a debut pro season 12-22--34 and +7 in 45 games overall.

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Aces: Nunn, Ruegsegger Back In Fold

The Alaska Aces welcomed two more returners today when they announced the signings of wingers Garry Nunn and Tyler Ruegsegger.

Nunn, 22, will be entering his third full season with the only pro club he has ever played for. Ruegsegger, 24, will be back for this third season, and second full season, with the Aces.

Nunn last season was fourth on the ECHL club in goals and tied for fourth in points with 15-29—44 totals in 67 games. He debuted with the Aces late in 2009-10, following the completion of his major junior career.

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Aces: Nunn, Ruegsegger Back In Fold

The Alaska Aces welcomed two more returners today when they announced the signings of wingers Garry Nunn and Tyler Ruegsegger.

Nunn, 22, will be entering his third full season with the only pro club he has ever played for. Ruegsegger, 24, will be back for this third season, and second full season, with the Aces.

Nunn last season was fourth on the ECHL club in goals and tied for fourth in points with 15-29—44 totals in 67 games. He debuted with the Aces late in 2009-10, following the completion of his major junior career.

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Former Seawolf Portwood Will Play Pro In Scotland

Former UAA winger Jade Portwood, who wrapped his college career in the spring, has landed his first pro gig.

The Edinburgh Capitals of the Great Britain-based EIHL announced that Portwood, 23, has signed to play for the Scottish club.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Portwood in a team press release said he also would be pursuing his masters degree in sports and recreation management at the University of Edinburgh.

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UAA Incoming Recruits: The Lowdown Straight From Coach Shyiak

The Seawolves have eight incoming recruits this fall, and UAA assistant sports information director Dallas Baldwin today issued a press release in which eighth-year coach Dave Shyiak gives his take on the newcomers.

Without further ado, here it is, straight from the bench boss:

ANCHORAGE – Eight newcomers will make up the incoming class for the 2012-13 season, announced Friday by eighth-year head hockey coach Dave Shyiak.

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Former Nanook Goaltender Scott Greenham Signs With ECHL Bakersfield

Goaltender Scott Greenham, who wrapped a stellar college career at UAF last spring and then played in the ECHL and AHL, has signed with ECHL Bakersfield, the Condors announced today.

Greenham played three games last season for Bakersfield (2-1-0), then two each for AHL clubs Houston (0-2-0) and Hershey (0-1-0). He posted a combined 3.34 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

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A Once And Future Ace -- The Return Of Matt Robinson

Winger Matt Robinson, who began his pro hockey career with the Alaska Aces six years ago, is headed back to Anchorage.

The Aces this morning announced Robinson, who turned 27 Monday and is entering his seventh season in the play-for-pay game, has signed with the club for the upcoming season.

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Kelter, Smelker Named To USA Hockey Under-22 Women's Select Team

Spaced getting this on the blog Monday though we did manage to remember to get it in the dead-trees edition -- The Blog is gonna plead senior moment -- so here goes: Defenseman Alev Kelter of Eagle River and forward Jordan Smelker of Anchorage have been named to USA Hockey's Under-22 Select Team.

The Selects open a three-game series against Canada in Calgary on Thursday, with games also set for Friday and Sunday.

Kelter, 21, plays at Wisconsin. Smelker, 20, plays at Rensselaer.

They are among 22 players on the squad -- 12 forwards, 8 D and 2 goaltenders.

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Anchorage's Corbin Schmidt, Former Nanook And Ace, Is New UAF Assistant

Hey, some good news for our old friend Corbin Schmidt, the former East High, UAF and Alaska Aces defenseman -- he's a new assistant coach at UAF.

The hiring of Schmidt, 31, was announced Saturday by UAF.

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Aces Add Returners Ward, Hall

The Alaska Aces added two more returners to the mix today with their announcement they have signed veteran defenseman and alternate captain Steve Ward, and rookie winger Tim Hall, to contracts for the upcoming ECHL season.

Ward, 26, will mark his third season with the Aces. He plays in every situation, is steady as they come and adds some offense. Last season Ward, who helped the Aces to the 2011 Kelly Cup in his first season with Alaska, posted 5-20—25 totals in 62 games. His +14 rating tied for third-best on the club, not shabby considering he played a ton of quality minutes.

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Notes: Cooper Among World Jr. Cuts; Couple Of Alaska Connections Sign In Europe

Defenseman Brian Cooper of Anchorage was among 11 cuts today at USA Hockey's Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., where the team for the 2013 World Junior Championship will be chosen.

Cooper, 18, was one of six defensemen trimmed from the roster.

He's headed to Nebraska-Omaha this fall as a true freshman. Cooper played the past three seasons for the Fargo Force of the U.S. Hockey League and captained the Force last season. Earlier this summer, the Anaheim Ducks selected him in the fifth round of the NHL draft.

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Aces Announce Annual Preseason Games -- Vegas Is Coming -- To Benefit Cancer Awareness

The Alaska Aces today announced their annual preseason two-game series to benefit cancer awareness, and the opponent is familiar: The Aces will take on the Las Vegas Wranglers in a rematch of last spring's Western Conference Finals, won by Vegas.

The games are set for Monday, Oct. 8 and Tuesday, Oct. 9 at Sullivan Arena.

As always, funds raised from the "Paint The Rink Pink'' games will go to Breast Cancer Focus Inc. and the American Cancer Society, according to the Aces "to ensure that 100% of the funds raised during "Paint the Rink Pink" will stay local in Alaska.''

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Aces: Looks Like Kissel Is Going Abroad

Woke up this morning, turned on the computer and discovered an interesting piece of news -- looks like Alaska Aces leading scorer Dan Kissel, signed for the upcoming season, is instead headed to Europe.

According to eliteprospects.com, Kissel has signed to play for the Stavanger Oilers in Norway.

His departure would deprive the Aces of their leading scorer from last season -- he finished tied for second in the ECHL in goals with 35-33--68 totals in 70 games -- and the guy they expected to be a first-line winger and power-play force in the upcoming season.

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