It’s not every day a youth hockey team from Anchorage, Alaska, visits Culver Academies. But when the North Stars U14 boys hockey team decided to play in the Irish Cup Tournament at the University of Notre Dame, there was a special incentive to make Culver the team’s headquarters for the weekend.
The team’s coach is Aris Brimanis ’90. As one of Culver’s alumni to reach the National Hockey League, Brimanis put together a 19-year career as a defenseman that included stints with the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders, and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, the Kioten Flyers in Switzerland, and the Hannover Scorpions and Indians in Germany.
Since retiring in 2012, he has been coaching and teaching hockey in Anchorage. While most of the games were played at Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Center, Brimanis made arrangements for the team to stay on the Culver campus.
That allowed the boys to shadow classes with current players and skate in the J. Allan Clark Ice Rink. Saturday evening, they watched the Prep team beat Nichols Academy, 5-1. It was the first time Brimanis has been back to Culver for a game since graduation.
“I watched them a couple of times while I was playing on the East Coast,” he said. “The team would come out for the Cushing tournament and I would catch them there. But I haven’t seen them back here.”
The North Stars also attended Notre Dame’s 7-2 win over visiting Merrimack Friday evening (Andrew Oglevie, who played for CMA in 2010-2011, now plays for the Irish) and the Chicago Blackhawks’ 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at the United Center Sunday before flying home.
“It’s a pretty good weekend for them,” Brimanis smiled.