By Maj. Michael Odgers (49th Missile Defense Bn.)February 4, 2014
FORT GREELY, Alaska -- Capt. Michael Long and Sgt. Robert Haas, both of Alpha Company, 49th Missile Defense Battalion, were selected as part of the Army team to represent Fort Wainwright to play against Eielson Air Force base in the Commander's Cup.
The Commander's Cup has been an annual tradition between the Soldiers of Fort Wainwright and the Airmen of Eielson Air Force base since 1996, when they competed against each other as part of Hockey Week, an annual event celebrated in Fairbanks.
This year the Commander's cup is scheduled Feb. 28 at the Patty Ice Arena at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks Campus at 1:30 p.m. There was an expedition game between the two teams Feb. 1 at the Dipper in Fairbanks during Hockey Week. The Air Force won game with three goals to two.
"It was a challenging tryout. I'm, excited to be a part of something that's just bigger than myself," said Haas. "It's a great venture between the active duty, the Guard, and the Reserves. It's going to be a blast and I hope everyone can make it to the games."
Haas, 31, has been playing hockey since he was 8 years old. He played street hockey until he was 14, and then he switched to ice hockey.
"Texas is clearly a football state," Haas said. "But once the Dallas Stars came to town ice hockey really took off."
Haas grew up watching the Dallas Stars play. His father would take him to the games. It is there that he was influenced by Stars goalie Andy Moog.
"I was inspired by Moog's defensive nature and that led to me choosing to play goalie," he said.
Haas was the head coach of the high school hockey team last year and serves as an assistant coach of the pee wWee team in Delta. He said his demanding work schedule prevents anything more.
Capt. Michael Long, commander, Alpha Company, has been playing for the Army team for nine years. And as military policeman, he has also represented the Fairbanks Police Department when they play against the Fairbanks Fire Department.
"I look forward to this event every year," Long said. " It gives me a reason to keep in shape and put my best skate forward."
Long, a New York native, said he has played hockey as long as he has been on two feet. He participates in the Delta Junction Men's league and assists the coaching staff at Delta High School.
"Every place I've gone growing up in the military I have found my balance in hHockey," Long said. "It has been my outlet and a great way to stay resilient during the long Alaskan winters."