Enthusiasm and talent are on the rise at the 20th Annual Kenai Central and Soldotna High Schools Alumni Hockey Game, which will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.
“There’s some good hockey players,” said Rick Koch, the chair of the Alumni Game Committee since about 2007. “These are probably the two most well-rounded teams since I’ve been involved in this.”
Koch said that many years, rosters don’t get close to full until game day. But this year most of the slots filled up early.
The two squads will be battling for the Redford Cup. Koch said the all-time count in the cup is pretty much even.
The Kards will have a pair of players currently putting up big numbers at a high level of hockey.
Zack Zulkanycz, formerly of the Kenai River Brown Bears and Dubuque (Iowa) Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League, has eight goals and nine assists in just seven games played for the Kingsville (Ontario) Kings, a Tier II Junior A club in the Greater Metro Hockey League, which allows overaged junior players.
Jake Eubank plays for the Pikes Peak (Colorado) Miners Tier III Junior Club and has 25 goals and 16 assists in just 17 games played. He also will have the luxury of being joined by former Kenai running mate Trevor Wagoner in the game.
The Kards also have former Brown Bears in Brad Fusaro, Jed McGlasson and Kegan Kiel. Both Fusaro and McGlasson went on to playing careers at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota.
Phil Ischi also will skate for the Kards with his many years of pro experience, including a few games for the Alaska Aces in the 2013-14 season.
Also providing scoring power for the Kards will be Adrian Borchgrevink, who skated for the University of Oklahoma.
The Stars’ defense will be led by a couple of players — Lee Green and Brandon Fisher — used to dealing with the type of forwards that Kenai will put on the ice.
Green made his way from the USHL to the University of Alaska Anchorage, then saw six seasons of pro action that included time with the Alaska Aces.
Fisher had a junior career that started with the Brown Bears and reached as high as the USHL.
Soldotna forward Clayton Glick also saw time for the Brown Bears, and Koch said the Stars will also have former Skyview skater Paddy Iverson, who always seems to be good for a couple of Alumni Game goals.
Proceeds from the game go to supporting the Kenai Central hockey program, with special attention toward assisting players who would have a tough time playing without financial aid. Money also will go toward the construction of permanent locker rooms at the Kenai ConocoPhillips Multi-Purpose Facility.
Santa Claus will be at the event, which will be sponsored by Dairy Queen. There will be a wet section, turkey bowling and a raffle for two round-trip tickets to Anchorage on Ravn. The cost for admission is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students.
“We really appreciate everybody coming out, enjoying the game and supporting high school hockey,” Koch said.
Kenai Central players — Eric Downs, Brad Fusaro, Phil Ischi, Jed McGlasson, Zack Zulkanycz, Jake Eubank, Dominick Eubank, Kegan Kiel, Adrian Borchgrevink, Cameron Borchgrevink, Dean Howell, Trevor Wagoner, Trevor Baldwin, Karlyn Iverson, Wally Ward, Zach Mese, Isaac Mese, T.J. Oren, Joel Overway, Hyden McDermott-Johnson, Dan Silver, Alex Koch, Nick Wirz.
Soldotna players — Jarrett Urban, Jonas Perletti, Connor Schoessler, Harley Crandall, Whitney Ischi, Ty Fenton, Josh Kerkvliet, Dagan Walton, Clayon Glick, Brandon Fisher, Darryl Sachwitz, Jeremy Mercer, Mario Gomez, Justice Miller, Shayne Miller, Matt Vassillie, Lee Green, Paddy Iverson, Nate Anderson, Stephen Endsley, Kevin Stone, Nate O’Lena.