Zach Harrison has not played a hockey game for the Alaska Aces in 16 months and the club traded him nearly a year ago, yet in one sense the 26-year-old center still represents the future for the reigning ECHL champions.
Actually, make that "futures,'' which is hockey short-hand for "future considerations'' in a trade.
Long story short: Aces coach Rob Murray in early September 2013 accommodated Harrison and dealt his rights to Orlando for future considerations, which in June Murray cashed in for the rights to center C.J. Severyn, then turned around Tuesday and accommodated Severyn by shipping his rights to Fort Wayne for – you guessed it – future considerations.
Turns out, Murray said, that Severyn, who is from Ohio, is recently married and wanted to remain close to his wife, who works in Ohio, hence the trade to a team in a state bordering Ohio.
"The way we look at things is, if a guy doesn't want to be here, we're not going to force him to be here,'' Murray said.
Long story longer: A "futures'' trade sometimes involves a non-hockey consideration, often is completed when the team owing "futures'' gives the club owed "futures'' a short list of players from which to choose and occasionally, in the initial Harrison deal, for instance, isn't finished until an ECHL-imposed deadline looms. Also, "futures'' occasionally turn out to be a nominal amount of money – say $200, or, as they euphemistically say in hockey, "a bag of pucks.''
Harrison, who had played his first three seasons as a pro for the Aces, requested a trade to be closer to his then-fiancee, an attorney in Kansas City, Missouri. The couple had endured a long-distance relationship since Harrison played at Minnesota State-Mankato and his then-fiancee attended Boston College. The way Harrison figured it, in Orlando he would only be one flight away from his love.
Murray didn't cash in his "futures'' last season because, well, he never felt the need. And everything turned out fine – the Aces won their third Kelly Cup in franchise history.
ECHL rules required the Aces and Orlando to complete that Harrison deal by June 13, so Murray snagged Severyn from a list Orlando provided at the deadline.
Murray on Tuesday honored Severyn's request to play closer to home and family, which means the Aces still are owed "futures,'' but from Fort Wayne instead of Orlando.
Murray said he will get a player from Fort Wayne, but had not yet determined the timing in closing the deal with the Komets.
"It'll be someone we can use,'' Murray said. "It's not a direct deal -- we're not getting a guy immediately. But we will eventually.''
Until that happens, the Harrison deal, in one sense, isn't a done deal.
Shuffling the deck
Defenseman/forward Zach McKelvie, who helped the Aces to the Kelly Cup, was hired as an assistant coach at Army, his alma mater, earlier this summer.
McKelvie's path to pro hockey was an unusual one – he served two years in the U.S. Army to fulfill his military obligation before he secured his release from active duty and began a three-year pro hockey career.
Murray and assistant coach Louis Mass on Friday will accompany the Kelly Cup to Talkeetna. Their tour will include lunch at Mountain High Pizza Pie and a stop at Talkeetna Village Park for the weekly Live @ 5 concert series. Fans can take pictures with the Cup at the park.