Former Aces announcer Jack Michaels gets ready for NHL restart

Jack Michaels at the CHED studio in Edmonton.
Jack Michaels at the CHED studio in Edmonton.(KTUU)
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 10:03 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - For the first time in four and a half months the NHL will be playing meaningful hockey as it resumes play in Canada on Aug. 1. The league has put its two conferences into quarantine bubbles, Eastern Conference in Toronto, and the Western Conference in Edmonton.

“It’s almost as though it’s the start of a new season,” former Alaska Aces play-by-play announcer Jack Michaels said over Zoom on Thursday. “You’re trying to capture the feel that this is a continuation of the last season.”

Michaels is currently the play-by-play announcer of the Edmonton Oilers on 630 CHED radio. Even though Michaels lives in Edmonton, he won’t be able to announce games from inside the bubble when the Oilers face-off with the Blackhawks on Saturday. He will watch games from a special studio constructed at CHED, and call games from there for the rest of the season.

“By in large they are treating this like it’s a youth hockey tournament,” Michaels said describing the NHL bubble. “There are 12 teams, some common areas separated by social distance, there’s a bunch of restaurants, pop up food trucks at their disposal.”

Similar to his time with the Aces the Oilers are a franchise on the rise featuring two of the league’s top players in Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid.

“I’m pretty sure the Oilers were never on eBay as they (Aces) were in the summer of 2002,” Michaels said jokingly.

Michaels spent eight years in the ECHL calling Aces games from 2002-2010 before making the leap to the NHL with the Oilers.

“I honestly remember that like it was yesterday it was so much fun,” he said.

Inside the bubble, Anchorage’s Nate Thompson (Flyers), North Pole’s Pheonix Copley (Capitals), UAF’s Colton Parayko (Blues), and UAA’s Jay Beagle (Canucks) will all lace up the skates for a shot at the Stanley Cup. The Blue Jackets Brandon Dubinsky from Anchorage isn’t expected to be ready to play this season, according to NBC Sports James O’Brien.

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