Alaska – the nation’s 49th state, a state with no “professional”, big-time sports franchises, and one of the 33 states without an NHL team. What they lack in professional major league sports, though, is made up by several minor league teams in basketball, collegiate baseball and perhaps best and most exciting of all – the Alaska Aces, Anchorage’s ECHL (formerly the East Coast Hockey League) minor league hockey team. 2005 saw the Alaska Aces join an affiliation with the St. Louis Blues and Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis’ AHL affiliate). The Aces have a rich history, full of success in their short time since founding in 1995. The Aces were an original WCHL (yes, West Coast Hockey League) team upon founding in 1995 and after some rocky financial issues the team was put up for sale, via eBay no less, in 2002. A year later, in 2003, local ownership was secured and the Aces, originally called the Anchorage Aces, were now known as the Alaska Aces.
2006 earned the Aces several honors and firsts in their franchise history; they were only the second team ever to win both the Brabham Cup and the Kelly Cup in the ECHL. This was the first Kelly Cup Win in Alaska Aces history. The Aces made their way back in to the playoff finals in 2009 but lost to the South Carolina Stingrays, 4 games to 3. This season the Aces have once again earned the Brabham Cup and are making their third Kelly Cup Playoff appearance since 2006. [More after the jump...]