Start of something special

Alpena Hockey Association girls alumni games begin tonight

The Alpena Warriors pose for a picture after a runner-up finish in the annual Battle on the Bay hockey tournament this season at Northern Lights Arena.

Sometimes putting a special event together in Alpena can turn out to be better than imagined.

That will be the case tonight.

Northern Lights Arena will be hosting Alpena Hockey Association girls alumni games today and tomorrow. The two day event was originally planned just to take place tonight, but due to the amount of interest, games between the Alpena All-Star Alumni and Alpena Warriors will be played the next two days with tonights contest beginning at 5:00 p.m. and tomorrow’s starting at 6:30 p.m.

“We have done something similar to this before so I knew it probably could be done if I was able to get enough players to participate,” Alpena Warriors coach Mike Nunneley said. “When we started putting things together, we had about 10-15 former players that were interested and that number grew to 27 and we weren’t going to turn anyone down so we decided to make it a two day event and hopefully it will be the start of an annual event.”

Three generations of former girls hockey players will be back to lace up the skates and represent the alumni team.

The group will feature past players that skated at the Alpena Boys Club Rink, Mich-e-ke-wis and Northern Lights Arena.

“It has certainly surpassed my expectations and when we reached out to players, it kind of took on a life of its own thanks to the internet era we are currently living in,” Nunneley said. “There are ladies that grew up and played in Alpena that have since moved on that are coming from all over the state because they are back home for the holidays and we’re excited to see all of them.”

There will be no price of admission, but donations are encouraged and can be taken at the door. The alumni players fee and admission will be a donation and all proceeds will go to the Alpena Warriors to support them and help fund the team for this years state tournament and other showcase events throughout the season.

Not only did Nunneley see this as a great way to help raise money for the team and start a special tradition, he also viewed it as an opportunity to keep his team fresh since they are on a two week layoff because of the holiday break.

“This is a great opportunity for so many reasons and it will also keep our team playing which is important. Even more important than that, this is a way for us to honor these ladies that got women’s hockey started in Alpena, because without them, we are not playing,” Nunneley said. “It’s going to be nice to recognize them while having everyone get together and most importantly, have fun. We are hoping for a big crowd for the start of something special.”