Former Aces winger Neilson is AHL's Man of the Year

Doyle Woody,Adn Staff

Former Alaska Aces winger Eric Neilson, currently with the Syracuse Crunch, today was named winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award as the AHL's Man of the Year.

Neilson, 29, was chosen from among 30 nominees, one for each team in the league. He's been a candidate for the award six times, and with five different clubs.

Neilson this season created the "Breakfast with a Champion'' program to teach elementary school students the importance of healthy eating. He's also been a spokesman for the Crunch's anti-bullying campaign and a team spokesman for Upstate University Hospital's health awareness campaigns.

Neilson played for the Aces in 2007-08, going 3-1--4, with 119 penalty minutes in 34 games. He got promoted to the AHL's Peoria Rivermen that season and has been in the AHL since.

For kicks, The Blog looked up Neilson's last game for the Aces, and the summary from that 4-2 Aces win was a treat to check out. Neilson early in the game fought winger Justin Johnson of Anchorage, who was playing for Utah. Johnson also scored a goal. You might recall J.J. made his NHL debut last week.

The game also featured a fight between Utah's Scott Burt (who went on to be the Aces' captain on the 2011 Kelly Cup team, and an Alaska assistant coach) and Aces defenseman Dave Pszenyczny (or, as Mrs. Blog called him, Davey Alphabet).

Oh, and in goal from Utah was none other than former UAA goaltender Nathan Lawson, who went on to play in the NHL.