23 February 2017

The End of an Era

When we moved to Alaska, nearly 15 years ago, there was one aspect of the change which hadn't been on the radar until we arrived.
Back in the St. Louis area, we enjoyed the baseball Cardinals, the Rams (they were doing well, at the time), and the Blues. We took professional sports teams for granted; they're everywhere, right?
Except ... not so much.
Alaska didn't then, and still doesn't, have any big-league sports teams. The closest thing was the Alaska Aces, a farm-league hockey team in Anchorage.
Now, after ongoing financial woes, the Aces will soon be no more.
The end of this hockey season will double as the end of the Alaska Aces. 
The state's only professional sports franchise, a three-time winner of the ECHL's Kelly Cup, announced Thursday morning that it will cease operations after 14 seasons on the circuit two steps below the NHL.

I grew up watching, and occasionally attending, Cardinals baseball. Not a rabid fan, and never the type who could tell you the shoe and jumper sizes the players wore, still I enjoyed the games. I even attended a game the week before we moved, having the privilege of seeing it from a private box at the old Busch Stadium in its final season.

Sidebar: I attended a game in '66, in that stadium's inaugural season. Watched Orlando Cepeda hit a grand slam against the Mets.

Anyway, while never been a hockey fan, I feel badly for the local fans who never miss an Aces game. I feel your pain, folks.


ProudHillbilly said...

My daughter sent me a pic from MI - they bowl with footballs. Alcohol and extended cold weather...

Rev. Paul said...

When you have as many months of winter as we do, you go out of your way to find means of entertainment. Not sayin' they're all good ideas, mind. Heh.

drjim said...

Never was a big sports fan, except for auto racing.

And the Cubs, of course.

threecollie said...

Darn, that is sad for those who enjoy. Around here we have quite a few minor league teams of various stripes. I bought the boss season's tickets to a little baseball league

Rev. Paul said...

Jim, I can still watch auto racing on TV, the way I always have. And once in awhile, I stumble across a Cards game on one of the networks, but it's only once or twice per season. Alaska has the post-college baseball league, but the games are not very exciting, most of the time. And it's the same three teams playing each other, all season long: two from Anchorage & one from Fairbanks.

threecollie, it is sad. But the population just isn't large enough to support a farm club, much less a big-league team.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

We have a local AHL hockey team that we go watch occasionally. I enjoy hockey, but find myself begrudging the 2-3 hours it takes to watch one.

Rev. Paul said...

TB - for whatever reason, I never got into hockey. It became a thing in the late '60s or early '70s, in the part of the country where I lived at the time. I just wasn't interested, and could never figure out why anyone else thought it was something to watch. Personal preferences, and all that.