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Hemingway finds home in Alaska

by Brian Compton
After racking up 82 points in 57 games overseas last season, Colin Hemingway returned to North America with an opportunity never presented to him before -- a chance to play for the Alaska Aces alongside his younger brother, Brett.

It's been a dream season for Colin, who leads the second-place Aces with 51 points (17 goals, 34 assists) in 45 games. At the age of 28, the former St. Louis Blues forward is eyeing his first professional championship. To win it with his sibling would only make it extra special. recently had a chance to speak with the Blues' eighth-round choice in the 1999 Entry Draft. Talk about this run the Aces have been on. What have you guys done differently as of late?

Hemingway: I think our team identity. We've got three lines that are buying into the system, buying into their jobs on the ice. At the beginning of the year, we kind of had one line that would just do the scoring and everybody else would kind of be doing their own thing. But lately, we've been working as a team and as a unit. Obviously, we've been getting great goaltending. How much fun has it been going to the rink these days?

Hemingway: It's a great time when you're winning. It's the best thing in the world, I think anyways. Guys are happy, guys are excited. The practices are a little easier and it's a little looser in the dressing room. When you're losing, things aren't as good. Guys are gripping their sticks. But it's been a blast up in Alaska this year. What made you decide to return to North America after playing in Europe last year?

Hemingway: I definitely wanted to play with my younger brother. We've never had the chance to do that. Obviously, I want to win a championship. Coach McCambridge told me we had the ability to be a championship team. I looked at the roster and it was kind of a no-brainer. I haven't won a championship since junior hockey, and I definitely want to get back there. It's got to be a dream come true to have the opportunity to play with your brother.

Hemingway: It is. We live together, and now we're playing on the same line. It's something that not a whole lot of people can say that they've done. I'm enjoying and relishing every minute of it. Did he approach you last summer, or did you ask him if Alaska would be interested in your services?

Hemingway: To tell you the truth, I tried to swing him over to Europe at first. But he said Alaska was a first-class organization and guys get treated well. Once I talked to coach, he kind of reiterated the same thing. I want to win a championship -- and I'm not getting any younger. I want to take advantage of it while I feel like I'm still at the top of my game. How much of an impact did watching the Niedermayer brothers win a Stanley Cup in Anaheim have on you?

Hemingway: That's something that nobody could ever take away from you. To live together for that long and to play on the same high-caliber team … it's not just playing together just for the sake of it. We both have a mission. I think the whole team does this year. Given your resume, it's obvious you're one of the leaders in the dressing room. Have guys been asking you what it was like to play in the NHL?

Hemingway: I try to lead by example. I'm not a rah-rah type of player. I try to go out there and do my job. Some of the younger guys want to know how things are and how things work. I try to let them know from personal experience how things go. If I can help them, I feel like I've accomplished something. Are you strictly focused on winning a championship in Alaska, or do you still have hopes of getting a look in the American Hockey League this season?

Hemingway: My NHL dream is slipping away day by day. But there's still that glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. I would definitely not turn down a call-up nowadays, but winning a championship is the biggest thing. I've heard stories from other guys on the team about winning the Kelly Cup (in 2006). That's something I want to get done.

Around the ECHL -- Jimmy Kilpatrick of the Cincinnati Cyclones was named the Rookie of the Month for January after scoring 10 goals and added 13 assists for 23 points in 13 games. Kilpatrick, who leads the club with 22 goals, was promoted to AHL Houston on Wednesday. … Utah Grizzlies forward Ryan Kinasewich was tabbed the Player of the Month. He led all ECHL players in January with 18 assists and 29 points in 13 games. He had at least two points in eight of those contests. … The 2009 All-Star Game DVD is available on the league's Web site ( for $15. … South Carolina defenseman Brad Farynuk was fined an undisclosed amount as a result of his actions in the third period against Florida on Feb. 3. He was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct for spearing. … Johnstown's Kris Mayotte was named the Goalie of the Week after recording three victories with a 2.00 goals-against average. It's the second time he's won the award this season. … Dayton defenseman Milan Maslonka was fined an undisclosed amount as a result of his actions in a game against Cincinnati on Jan. 31. … Gwinnett forward Matt Siddall was suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount as a result of his actions at the conclusion of the Gladiators' 3-2 loss to Florida on Jan. 31. Siddall was assessed a game misconduct under Rule 40.5 Abuse of Officials. He missed Wednesday's 5-3 loss to Mississippi.

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