As the adage goes, old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance.
Former Phoenix Coyotes and other alumni from the NHL proved that, as the retired veterans beat the ACHA’s top-ranked ASU hockey team in an exhibition game for charity, 9-5.
The alumni were led by former Phoenix Coyote and current Coyotes’ television analyst Tyson Nash. He registered two points, dishing out an assist and scoring on a breakaway.
“That was a ton of fun to get out again with the guys, the alumni, and obviously for a great cause,” Nash said. “I caught a couple of (ASU’s) games over the last couple of years and I was nervous. I gotta admit, I was nervous to see if we could keep up with these guys.”
ASU coach Greg Powers said despite the score, he was happy with how the night ended.
“That was fun, it was good for our guys to see what smart hockey could do,” Powers said. “Our guys can take a lot from it and move on back to our season.”
Powers and Nash both agreed that neither side played with a lot of intensity. Nash said ASU must have been taking at a slower pace, and Powers compared the game to one someone might find in a mens’ league.
“It was a men’s league game, right?” he said. “Against the best mens’ leaguers in the world.”
As far as the game on the ice, the offensive star of the night was NHL alumnus Alex Hicks. The former Duck, Penguin, Shark and Panther scored three goals, finishing the hat trick on a breakaway goal, beating ASU’s goalie top-shelf, glove-side. Hicks played parts of five seasons in the NHL, recording 25 goals and 55 assists in his career.
Powers said the game came to be when representatives from the Coyotes who reached out to ASU and asked if it would be interested in the game.
“It’s a good opportunity to get more positive publicity out there and play obviously very high-level guys,” Powers said. “The goal is to use this, in my opinion, to make the community more aware of the level of play that we’re at.”
Proceeds from the game benefit ASU hockey’s charity, Sparky’s Kidz.
After the game, Nash hinted this may not be the last time the alumni and the Sun Devils meet, and potentially at a bigger venue.
“I’m sure there will be a rematch in the near future, hopefully, we’re trying to set that up, maybe at Jobing.com Arena.”
Powers said his team would be open for a rematch as well.
“Anytime they want to play, we’ll play, especially when it’s for charity.”
Powers said Friday’s game was a good warmup for the rest of the season. ASU hasn’t played since Dec. 7.
ASU returns to ACHA play on Thursday when the No. 11 University of Central Oklahoma visits Tempe. It is the start of a four-game home-stand for the Sun Devils, which will also feature No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 3 Liberty.
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