After spending the 2004-2005 playing for the Alaska Aces, usually on the same line as Scott Gomez, Chris Minard got promoted to the AHL Albany River Rats for the 2005-2006 season...but returned to us for the Kelly Cup run (and victory) when Albany was eliminated early in their playoff run.
He spent this last season playing in the AHL for the Lowell Devils....and the news came in today-- the PITTSBURGH PENGUINS have signed him to a two year deal!
Now, I recognize that there is a strong possibility Chris will just end up playing for Penguin's AHL affiliates, the Wiles Barre Penguins. But what if...?
What I should cop to is that I was one of the few detractors Chris had while he played here. It wasn't that I didn't like him, I thought he was great to watch. But I wasn't convinced that the magic we were seeing come from him wasn't just as a result of being placed on the same line as an amazing forward who knows how to set a guy up for a great shot on goal.
That year I was much more impressed with Charles Linglet, who remains one of my all time favorite players-- even if we did trade him to the dreaded Las Vegas Wranglers. But Minard proved himself in the two seasons that have followed...both at the ECHL level and the AHL level.
I hope he gets the chance to really prove himself at the next level!
In other hockey news...tonight was the SEHL (summer elite hockey league...basically the highest level of play in the local men's rec league) all star game. One thing that is great about Anchorage, and the sports "stars" we help to create is that those guys don't seem to forget their roots.
It is not uncommon during the SEHL season to see guys that have been playing for the Aces, UAA and elite colleges around the country to be playing on the same teams as some up and coming kids from local high schools. Even more exciting is that it is not uncommon for our hometown NHL boys to make an appearance either.
Matt Carle is on the roster for the Titan Bombers this sumer...Tonight we got to see Scotty Gomez...(but I really enjoyed seeing Kimbi Daniels and the Big Rig (Cam Keith!))
It's a fun time. And it's great to see that Alaska remains an important part of people's lives even once they hit the various levels of the big time. (even if Jewel gave it up... hockey players are cooler than pop starts anyway.)