If you were listening to ESPN Radio recently, you could hear Meadville native and former WMGW sportscaster Jack Michaels screaming, “Goal! Game over! Game over!”

That call was from the other side of the United States in an Alaska Aces playoff hockey game. ESPN radio’s Dan Patrick heard the call and dubbed the clip as the “Call of the Week” on May 8.

“I don’t actually know how they got that call,” Michaels said.

The triple-overtime game was the third longest in East Coast Hockey League history.

It was tiring just hearing Michaels’ call of the nearly five-hour marathon, so it is easy to understand how exhausted Michaels was. With a shrill voice, the play-by-play radio announcer relieved Alaskan hockey fans at a little after midnight by saying, “Ladies and gentleman, it’s time to go home!”

Michaels is more than just an announcer, though. He is the director of communications and team services for the Aces, a position he has held since 2002.

“I do more than just games. I handle all the (team’s traveling arrangements) and public relations,” Michaels said. “I manage our Web site, and I do corporate sales over the summer.

“It’s a fun gig. It’s certainly a year-round gig.”

Meadville high school hockey coach Jamie Plunkett said he heard the call.

“I talked to him just a day or so after that happened,” Plunkett said. “I was very happy for him. He did a tremendous job.”

Plunkett said he and Michaels stay in touch throughout the season. He was driving home one day and heard the tape on an Erie radio station.

“I’m thinking to myself, ‘Man, I know that voice,’” Plunkett said. “A day later, he called me. I guess throughout the overtime he referenced (Meadville High School’s 1999 loss) in triple-overtime in the state championship game.”

The Ithaca College graduate has gone a long way since his days in Meadville. Michaels was a sportscaster at WMGW in Meadville from 1995 to 1999.

“I used to do the (Meadville) Bulldog hockey games,” he said. “I sent out tapes, not just hockey, but basketball and more.”

The Colorado Gold Kings in West Coast Hockey League liked what they heard. They offered Michaels the director of communications and marketing position in 1999.

“I heard (Colorado Springs) was a cool town,” Michaels said. “I wanted to get out and see the world a little bit. When they offered the play-by-play gig, I jumped on it.”

Years later, in 2002, the Gold Kings were broke and that left Michaels without a job. But Michaels got a call from the Aces, which were in the same league as the Gold Kings.

“They happened to be losing their guy the same year,” Michaels said. “It worked out pretty well.”

The Alaska Aces, among others in the WCHL, joined the ECHL as an expanision team. The Aces wanted Michaels to come along as the new director of communications.

But not so fast. As great as another gig with a similar league sounded, Michaels had to be cautious accepting the job for a team that was rumored to be a joke. The Aces couldn’t pay players and ownership almost tried to sell the team on eBay.

Fast forward to just over three weeks ago, and Michaels is heard calling a triple-overtime playoff win.

“It’s fun to be a part of that turn around,” Michaels said. “We had a lousy product on the ice, but it’s gotten better each year.”

Not only did the team’s turnaround shed new light on the Aces’ franchise, but exposed Michaels to a different situation. When he left a game just a few days ago at 11:15 p.m., the sun was still low on the horizon.

“It is a different kind of lifestyle.” Michaels said. “(You are) mowing the lawn and playing golf at 10 o’clock at night.”

But other than the time that the sun sets, the two aren’t much different.

“(Alaska’s) climate is closer than people in Meadville would like to believe,” Michaels said as he laughed.

Just like anything else in life, the team’s success has led to many other things. After struggling in the past, Michaels said the team now has tremendous fan support.

“If you’re winning games, it’s packed,” he said. “If you’re not winning, the fans are not interested.”

The Alaska Aces are affiliated with the St. Louis Blues, which gives the players a good understanding of the direct pipeline.

“A lot of guys go straight up to the NHL after this,” Michaels said.

The NHL and St. Louis Blues are sure to be watching the turnaround of the Alaska Aces. While the Aces’ players have faith that the St. Louis Blues have noticed their performances on the ice, Michaels hopes the NHL was listening to his calls on the microphone.

“My ultimate goal is the NHL,” Michaels said. “Hopefully, you get lucky one day.”

Luck and a little national exposure can’t hurt either.



To hear Jack Michaels' call follow the link: http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/7713829p-7624909c.html and click on the link on the right.



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