Anchorage — In North American professional hockey, players and coaches nearly always climb the game's ladder one rung at a time, and for hundreds in the past decade an ascent that began in the ECHL included a stop in the American Hockey League before rising to the NHL.
Broadcasters for the ECHL's Alaska Aces, though, are making a habit of blowing past that AHL stop and proceeding directly to the world's best league.
Josh Bogorad became the second straight Aces broadcaster to make the jump to the NHL, when the club on Tuesday announced the man who has been their radio and television voice the last three seasons has accepted a radio job with the Dallas Stars.
Bogorad, 33, will co-host pregame, intermission and postgame broadcasts for the team on 1310 The Ticket. He said he will also do some additional broadcasting for station.
Jack Michaels, who previously held Bogorad's position with the Aces, in 2010 left to become the radio voice of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, a job he still holds.
Bogorad's promotion takes him to the top of the sport, and also returns him to the state where he spent seven seasons broadcasting for the Central Hockey League's Corpus Christi IceRays. Corpus Christi is also where he met his wife, Andi, who still has family there. The move also puts Bogorad closer to his mother and father, and brother, all of whom live in the Los Angeles area.
Bogorad said he previously had other offers to leave Alaska for broadcasting jobs. But until the Stars came calling, none of those offers lured him from Alaska and the Aces, for whom he was also vice president of operations, director of media relations, a sales executive and the club's alternate governor.
"It's a good enough gig to get me to leave Alaska, and I love it here,'' Bogorad said. "I wasn't just going to leave for anything. I know it sounds cliche, and Jack said it a million times, this is such a great job. It has to be a great job to pull you away.''
Bogorad will work for the Aces through the end of this month, he said.
Aces managing member Terry Parks said he was proud of Bogorad and excited for the broadcaster and his family -- the Bogorads have a son, Mason (1). Parks also expects to hire Bogorad's replacement as soon as next week.
The Aces, who have twice won the ECHL's Kelly Cup and have seized an unprecedented three straight Brabham Cups as regular-season champions, have long been considered an elite organization, both on the ice and off. Three of their previous head coaches have risen in the game. Davis Payne, once head coach of the NHL's St. Louis Blues, is an assistant coach with the NHL's Los Angeles Kings. Brent Thompson is an assistant coach with the NHL's New York Islanders. And Keith McCambridge is head coach of the AHL's St. John's IceCaps.
The Aces consistently draw Alaska's largest crowds for a team sport, and their broadcaster becomes something of a celebrity. It was common at home games at Sullivan Arena to see fans ask Bogorad for autographs -- ditto for Michaels before him.
Parks said word getting out about Bogorad's potential move prompted about 25 applicants for the position before the team even delivered its official announcement about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. Another 17 applicants contacted Parks by 4 p.m. Tuesday, he said.
Bogorad said the Stars job came about in an indirect way. He said a friend of his in the NHL alerted him about a possible opportunity in the league, unrelated to the Stars job, and a series of events prompted him to leave a message seeking advice from Jason Walsh, the Stars' vice president of production and entertainment.
When Walsh got back to him, Bogorad said, the Stars executive didn't have much to relate about Bogorad's initial inquiry, but said the team had an opening that might suit Bogorad. As it happened, Bogorad and his family had previously had a trip planned to Texas to see his wife's family, so he interviewed with the Stars while on vacation.
"They always say, 'Right place, right time,' '' Bogorad said. "It was like six degrees of separation. Literally every NHL broadcaster I know has told me that if you ever get to the NHL, it will be one of those right-place, right-time deals.''
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.