NAHL advancement sends Miners’ Eubank home to Alaska
Even in Kenai, Alaska, the reputation of the Pikes Peak Miners is well-known.
Jake Eubank was looking for an 18U team after options ran out in his home state and a longtime family friend, Steve MacSwain, turned Eubank’s eye to the Miners.
“Steve had a lot of input for me and had heard nothing but great things about Coach (Greg) Vanover and knows he is great at what he does, which is further the development of players and move them on,” explained Eubank. “So for me, that was the big piece of the puzzle I was looking for when it came to my hockey career.”
Eubank, a forward, played for the Pikes Peak 18U AAA team last year and then joined the Miners’ entry in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League for 2015-16. In mid-January, the opportunity to make the lateral move and head home to play for the North American Hockey League’s Kenai River Brown Bears was too much to turn down.
“The Miners have been nothing short of superb,” Eubank said. “From the on-ice and off-ice training I got from Coach Vanover and all of the staff, our manager, Mrs. Anne Hanson, was amazing going above and beyond making dinner for our team after the late games up in Denver so we could eat and get back to the Springs at a decent hour so we could be successful the next day was amazing. The billets, the Nolettes’ and Pappas’, were two of the nicest families I have ever met and lived with, which made my experience in Colorado easier and even when I was 3000 miles from home, it really felt like I was home.”
Eubank figures to spend the rest of the season with the Brown Bears.
“Being from Kenai, playing in front of your hometown is amazing,” he said. “Everyone knows you, which is a double-edged sword because everyone knows you and expects what they’ve seen out of you before. After living away from home for a year and half, it’s great to be home.”
— Matt Mackinder