FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony became a family affair for Ashly Norum and Mark Norum.
Ashly Norum was among three women inductees for the College Hockey Honor Roll and her uncle, Mark, was inducted for the Referees’ Honor Roll during the ceremony on Saturday afternoon at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.
“It’s a great feeling. Having us both being inducted in the same year is awesome,” said Ashly Norum, a defenseman for the University of Maine women’s team from 2008-12. “It shows how big of a hockey family we are and how important hockey is to us.”
She was joined on the College Hockey Honor Roll by Anna Johnson, a forward and defenseman for three seasons (2008-2011) with Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and Kayla Colang, a right wing for Niagara University in New York from 2008-10 and for Plattsburgh State (N.Y) in 2010-11. All three players got their starts in the Fairbanks Amateur Hockey Association.
Chuck Cartier was honored Saturday as the Hall of Fame Inductee. Togi Letuligasenoa, Bruce Laiti and Luther Brice shared the Coach of the Year induction after they guided the Alaska Icebreakers to the title last April in the USA Hockey Girls 14-Under National Tournament in Frisco, Texas.
The three coaches were with the Icebreakers 16U team Saturday at a tournament in the Canadian province of Ontario.
A surprise honor was given to Babe and Steve Stephens as Fans of the Year.
“Is this why you’re all here?” Babe Stephens said jokingly to a packed crowd for the induction ceremony on the upper level of the Big Dipper.
Mark Norum smiled at the thought of joining his niece in the 2013 induction class. He coached her when she was as a youngster on the FAHA Mites and later with the Arctic Lions Squirt B team.
When Randy Zarnke, founder and president of the Fairbanks Hockey Hall of Fame, called to Norum about his induction, the longtime on-ice official first asked Zarnke about the College Hockey Honor Roll inductees.
“I asked him ‘when does the College Hockey Honor Roll get to go in?’ He said ‘when they graduate,’” Mark Norum said. “I said, ‘What about Ashly?’ He said ‘I already called her, so she’s in.’
“So that was pretty special,” said Mark Norum, who now coaches the Alaska Icebreakers 12-U team.
It seemed Saturday that everyone in the crowd was family to Cartier, who was a prolific skater for the Alaska Gold Kings in the early 1980s, has coached youth hockey in Fairbanks for more than 30 years and has sponsored hockey teams.
“There’s a lot of families in Fairbanks who had an impact on my career,” Cartier, who grew up on a farm near Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., said during his acceptance speech.
“I came from a small town and coming to a small town was an easy step,” said Cartier, who is a general manager for Fairbanks Rubber and Rigging — which he recently sold — and a co-owner of Harley Davidson Farthest North Outpost.
“You learn coming to a small town everybody you met you made friends with. You didn’t meet any enemies in a small town,” Cartier said. “Fairbanks was that way. Coming to this town, everybody was a friend and you remember these friends year after year.”
Mike MacDonald, a Fairbanks Superior Court judge who gave the induction speech for Cartier, said the induction committee for the hall of fame could have selected Cartier for any category.
“We talked about why Chuck would be in the hall of fame,” said MacDonald, “and when you go down the list and he’d be in the hall of fame as a player, he’d be in the hall of fame as a coach, he’d be in the hall of fame as a sponsor and he’d be in the hall of fame as a hockey parent.
“It’s just amazing that when you go down the list, every category Chuckie comes up on top,”
Cartier, following his induction ceremony, was congratulated by Michigan State head coach Tom Anastos, who was guiding the Spartans in their weekend Central Collegiate Hockey Association series at the Carlson Center.
“You’re a member of the (Michigan State) family and congratulations,” Anastos said to Cartier.
Cartier, when he was younger, played sparingly as a freshman for the Spartans and during his sophomore season, he sustained a career-ending knee injury.
Anastos later jokingly asked Cartier if he still had eligibility for the Spartans.
“We could have you for (Saturday night’s) game. We’ve got a uniform ready,” Anastos said.
After Saturday’s ceremony, Cartier was still overwhelmed by his induction.
“When you finally get so far in your career and your life, you don’t expect anything else,” said Cartier, 57. “I’ve done everything I wanted to do in sports and hockey and the community. I kind of feel like I was on my coasting stage, and to get an award like this just reminds me of all the good times hockey has brought to me.”
Mark Norum shared similar sentiments about hockey’s impact on his life.
“The sport itself is much like life — there’s good times and bad times. It’s really meant everything,” Norum, 50, said. “When I wake up, if I had a choice to go to work, or go play hockey, or go coach hockey, or go ref hockey or go watch hockey, I would do that.”
Norum, during his acceptance speech, said he met his wife during a game at the Big Dipper.