Hockey

8 hockey pioneers make up the Alaska Hockey Hall of Fame’s latest class of inductees

Eight Alaska hockey pioneers will be inducted into the Alaska State Hockey Hall of Fame at a Saturday afternoon ceremony in Anchorage.

The group includes the first Alaskan drafted by an NHL team, men who helped establish adult leagues in Anchorage and Fairbanks, a coach instrumental in the development of youth hockey throughout the state more than 50 years ago and the first girls team to win a national tournament.

Two players -- scoring machine Steve MacSwain and adult league legend Jimmy Reese -- are among those who will be honored at a 1 p.m. ceremony at Megan’s Room (6591 A Street).

A total of eight inductees -- seven people and one team -- make up the Class of 2020, whose induction was delayed a year by the pandemic. The Class of 2021 will be announced later and will be enshrined next year along with the Class of 2022, said Alaska State Hockey Association president Darryl Thompson.

Previous ceremonies honored the Class of 2018 and the Class of 2019.

Saturday’s inductees include:

-- Steve MacSwain, a prolific scorer who achieved numerous firsts. He was the University of Minnesota’s first player from outside Minnesota and he was the first Alaskan drafted by an NHL team’s first NHL draftee (Calgary Flames, 1986), the first to play for Team USA at the World Championships and one of the first to play professionally -- he played in Europe for several years.

-- Jimmy Reese, an Anchorage adult league legend who is still playing at age 83. “When I was a kid we all lived at the old sports arena and there was this old guy on the Wolverines, JImmy Reese, who was as tough as nails,” Thompson said.. “Jimmy’s a stud, he’s so tough. He’s still that way, he’s still the toughest guy on the ice.”

-- Dempsey Anderson, a coach instrumental in the development of youth hockey in Alaska during the 1960s and 1970s. He put on skills clinics across the state, was a principal founder of the Anchorage Hockey Association and worked to get outdoor ice rinks built at numerous public schools. Dempsey Anderson Ice Arena is named after him.

-- Richard Tarkiainen, a longtime player and high school coach in Fairbanks who had a hand in organizing the city’s adult league, high school league and the Alaska Gold Kings. According to his Hall of Fame bio, he was a defenseman for UAF’s club team back in the 1960s and participated in Alaska’s first intercollegiate game during the 1967-68 season when UAF played Alaska Methodist University.

-- Gene Williams, who was declared “the grandfather of adult hockey” by the Alaska Legislature in 1999 for his many contributions to recreational hockey. According to his Hall of Fame biography, he created a popular league that played at the Delaney Park Strip in the 1960s; helped start the Alaska State Hockey Association; was the first to sell hockey equipment in Anchorage and the first to send adult league teams to competitions outside Alaska.

-- Frank Nosek, who helped organize adult league hockey in Anchorage and was the chairman of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department during the development of several indoor ice facilities in the 1980s.

-- Skip Rierson, who helped develop statewide training for referees and officiated games at nearly every level of hockey -- youth, college, semipro and international, according to his Hall of Fame biography.

-- The 1996 Alaska Firebirds U19 national champions, the first girls team from Alaska to win a national title. They were part of the groundbreaking Firebirds program that waged a tough battle to win ice time for girls in Anchorage.

Alaska Hockey Hall of Fame

Class of 2020

Administrators -- Gene Williams, Frank Nosek

Coaches -- Dempsey Anderson, Rich Tarkiainen

Official -- Skip Rierson

Players -- Steve MacSwain, Jimmy Reese

Team -- 1996 Alaska FirebirdsU19 national champions

Class of 2019

Administrators -- Bond Whitmore, Bruce Urba, Mike and Bonnie Cusack

Coach -- Harry McDonald

Official -- Jimmy Brett

Player -- Matt Carle

Team -- 1996 Alaska All Star Tier I midget national champions

Class of 2018

Administrators -- Darlene Tragis, Dan Rogness

Coaches -- Dennis Sorenson, Roger McKinnon

Official -- Clay Wallace

Player -- Scott Gomez

Team -- 1990 Alaska All Star bantam national champions

CORRECTION: The induction ceremony is Saturday, not Sunday.


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