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Here's the Deal Blog 1/3/17

Here's the Deal Blog 1/3/17

Jan 3rd, 2017

Here's The Deal

Alaska Aces


January 3, 2017

Record: 18-7-5

By Matt Nevala

Alaska Aces correspondent


12/30 – vs. Colorado (L 4-1, GWG: Jesse Mychan, attendance: 4,263)

12/31 – vs. Colorado (W 4-1, GWG: Ben Lake, attendance: 3,809)

1/1 – vs. Colorado (W 6-4, GWG: Nolan Descoteux, attendance: 2,585)


1/4 – @ Idaho, 5:10 p.m. AKST

1/6 – @ Idaho, 5:10 p.m. AKST

1/7 – @ Idaho, 5:10 p.m. AKST

1/11 – vs. Orlando, 7:15 p.m. AKST

1/13 – vs. Orlando, 7:15 p.m. AKST

1/14 – vs. Orlando, 7:15 p.m. AKST


In a broadcasting career that’s spanned more than 34 years, Kurt Haider has seldom lacked for enthusiasm. All you have to do is listen.

Of course, excitement in sports can come from anywhere. Even from the opposition.

Now in his second season working for the Alaska Aces, Haider spent 19 years calling University of Alaska Anchorage hockey games on radio and television. He recalled a UAA game years ago against the University of Minnesota when future Aces forward Troy Riddle scored a goal for the Gophers that sent the crowd of more than 10,000 into a frenzy.

“And I blurted out something to the effect of, ‘Troy Riddle, you are awesome,’” Haider said.

Not exactly the homer call some in Alaska expected, or still might expect from their team’s play-by-play announcer.

“Of course, you always want to stay even keeled, but sometimes you can’t help but get caught up in the moment,” Haider said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s your team or the other squad, you just react. As long as your reporting is accurate, there are times you can’t pass up emphasizing great effort and action.”

Haider joined the Aces in the summer of 2015 as Director of Media Relations and broadcaster on television and radio. He started in radio in 1983 at KSRM Radio on the Kenai Peninsula and also worked in Minnesota before arriving in Anchorage in the mid-1990s. He called almost 700 UAA games in his career as well as numerous events in other Alaska sports.

“I like to think I continue to learn something new every day,” Haider said.

As he’s done for every broadcast of his career, Haider starts each game day by writing out rosters numerically on a legal pad.

“Everyone has their thing, I guess that’s mine,” he said.

Now in his second season with the Aces, Haider has thoroughly enjoyed the transition to the pro game.

“The 72-game schedule, the travel, all of it,” Haider said.

He’s also thrilled to be part of the Aces resurgence this season.

“It all starts with the goaltending, it’s been excellent and the confidence fills the team from the goal on out,” Haider said. “Of course, Peter Sivak keeps dipping into the fountain of youth to excel and Stephen Perfetto might just be that fountain.

“On top of what this team has done on the ice, it’s also filled with a great group of athletes. They’ve really accepted me as one of the guys. To that extent, I’m a fan and I want to see them do well. Of course, it helps that the better the Aces play, the better I sound.”



Defensive Zone Coverage refers to coverage once the offensive team has set up in the zone and all five defensive players are also in the zone…this may happen off a face-off in the defensive zone, after the opposition enters the zone and takes a shot on net, or when the opposition enters the zone and maintains puck possession for several seconds. Following are some key principles from to remember in defensive zone coverage:

Maintain mid-ice positioning.  Players are often in such a hurry to get to the outside to apply pressure to the puck carrier that they over commit and leave space in the most dangerous scoring area-the low slot. Few goals are scored from this outside area but in a lot of teams defensive play they will be caught with too many players covering the outside space.

Stay between the puck and the net. When checking players, make sure you always have great defensive side positioning by staying in a direct line between the puck and the net.

Be ready to block shots

Keep your stick on the ice.



After Sunday afternoon’s 6-4 win, Alaska now owns 9-4-2 record on home ice. … The Aces’ 3,705 average attendance coming into Sunday ranked 15th in the 28-team ECHL. … Forward Peter Sivak’s 23 goals topped the league. His 23-19—42 totals ranked him fourth in league scoring. He also fired 138 shots on goal, third highest on the circuit. … Forward Stephen Perfetto ranked 10th in league scoring with 14-20—34 numbers in only 23 games. … Alaska forward/player coach Garet Hunt ranked third in penalty minutes with 105.


Matt Nevala is a former Anchorage Daily News sports reporter and winner of multiple Alaska Press Club awards, who covered the Aces for several West Coast Hockey League and ECHL seasons. He was named recipient of the 2005-06 ECHL Outstanding Media Award.