Aces’ Victor A Roughneck Off The Ice

By Mark Simon
Special to NHL.com
February 27, 2004

The trend towards un-retiring, popularized in the NHL by the likes of Mario Lemieux, Gary Roberts, and Dominik Hasek, has dipped down to the ECHL too.

Florida Everblades star forward Tom Buckley returned to the ice after spending time in the radio booth. Veteran forward Cam Brown was head coach of the Baton Rouge Kingfish for a season before deciding he had a little left in the tank to return this season with the Gwinnett Gladiators.

Some players, like former New York Rangers forward Mike Hartman, find ways to make a part-time return work, which Hartman has done with the Charlotte Checkers.

The season’s most unusual unretirement goes to Alaska Aces forward Mike Victor. The 27-year-old Victor was out of the game for five seasons, and began an entirely new career, working on an oil rig just off the Kenai Peninsula, south of Anchorage. Victor was what’s known in the industry as a mud man or roughneck, injecting mud that is unusable for pipe lubrication back into the earth’s surface. This fall, Victor had the itch to get back. He had scored 20 points in 42 points with the B.C. Icemen of the United Hockey League in 1997-98, but quit abruptly, partly to appease a then-girlfriend and find a more stable career.

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