2009-10-23 / Sports

Aviator's Hockey Has An Aces Pedigree

Coach, Several Stars Return To Sports Complex
By Howard Schwach

Aces star goalie Eddie Neville will be in goal for the new Brooklyn Aviators. Aces star goalie Eddie Neville will be in goal for the new Brooklyn Aviators. When the Brooklyn Aviators take the ice on November 6, for anybody who watched last year's Brooklyn Aces play, the team will have a familiar look.

Coaching the team from the sidelines will be Rob Miller, who captained the Aces in the team's initial, and only, season at Aviator Sports in Brooklyn.

Joining him on the new team, which will be playing a 44-game season with the Northeast Professional Hockey League (NEPHL), will be some starters from last year's team, including top goalie Eddie Neville, Chris Holmes, Jesse Felten and Mike Christensen.

"I'm really excited about the new team, although I will miss the Aces," said one young fan, watching the team tryout two weeks ago. "I love hockey and this is much more fun than watching the Rangers."

The Aces came in runner-up in the now-defunct Eastern Professional Hockey League (EPHL), losing the final playoff game to the New Jersey Rockhoppers.

None of the four teams who played in the EPHL is returning this year, and it is unclear as to why the league folded after only one year of play.

Aviators coach Rob Miller (left) gets the Aces congratulations after scoring a goal late last season. On the line with the new coach were Chris Holmes and Jesse Felten. Aviators coach Rob Miller (left) gets the Aces congratulations after scoring a goal late last season. On the line with the new coach were Chris Holmes and Jesse Felten. Eddie Neville is an agile goaltender, who notched 16 wins with the Aces last year. He was a fan favorite, often sitting in the stands, speaking with those at the game prior to the game's start.

Chris Holmes is a steady forward with a hard shot, and fans will remember that he is not afraid to take the body into the corners.

"He digs and digs, and most often comes up with the puck," Miller said of Holmes.

Jesse Felten was perhaps the mostliked Ace on last year's team. When game-used jerseys were auctioned off for charity late in the season, Felten's went for the highest price.

Fans say that Felten is a favorite because of his style of play.

"He goes into the corners and gets beat up by bigger players," one fan said. "He comes out bloody, but he comes out shooting the puck."

Felten racked up 52 points along with 107 penalty minutes with the Aces last year.

Mike Christensen wound up as the runner-up top scorer in the EPHL last year despite the fact that he spent the last month of the season playing with the Las Vegas team in the EHL, a higher league.

Christensen, who is perhaps the top skating prospect on the team, spent training camp this season with the Quad City Mallards of the Inter - national Hockey League (IHL) a toptier minor league team.

Kevin McCabe, the leader of the ownership group of the New York Aviators, said, "We are thrilled to have been invited to have a team in the NEPHL. It is the highest compliment to the staff and community of the Aviator Sports Complex. We look forward to presenting a first class team and service at very popular prices to all of New York."

"I am excited about the opportunity to coach in this new league and to be a part of the Aviator family," Coach Miller said.

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