'06 Kelly Cup champion calls it a career after seven seasons
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Having missed 15 consecutive games, veteran left winger Barrett Heisten, a key component on the 2006 Alaska club that won the ECHL championship, has elected to retire in the best interests of preserving his long-term health.
Heisten, who will turn 28 in March, suffered a concussion in his last pro game, a 4-3 shootout win at Victoria December 19, and had not returned to the lineup since. He scored seven goals and assisted on 10 others in 24 games this season while serving as Alaska's captain, including a pair of goals in a 7-2 romp over Bakersfield December 8. Heisten had planned to retire after this season, his third in Anchorage, having decided to come back late last summer after an injury-plagued campaign that limited him to 50 points (17g-33a) in 60 games. Even while playing hurt, the Anchorage native registered five separate two-goal games during the 2006-07 regular season and eight points (1g-7a) in 12 Kelly Cup playoff contests.
The best of Heisten's seven pro seasons came in 2005-06, when he established career-highs in points (71), goals (26), assists (45), and penalty minutes (143) and helped lead the Aces to the ECHL title with three game-winning goals in the postseason among his 16 points (5g-11a), fourth on the club. Prior to coming back to play in his hometown, the first round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 1999 (20th overall) had spent four full seasons in the American Hockey League as well as a 10-game stint with the New York Rangers during the 2001-02 campaign.
Heisten attended Dimond High School in Anchorage before leaving to play on the 1997-98 U.S. Junior National team. He enrolled at the University of Maine the following year and scored 28 points (12g-16a) as a freshman on the 1999 NCAA champions. After another year with the Black Bears, playing alongside his older brother, Chris (also a teammate on Alaska's 2006 Kelly Cup champions), Barrett went back to juniors and rolled up 77 points for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League in 2001 before turning pro.
The Alaska Aces, 20-15-5 overall, good enough for third place in the West Division, practice tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. before traveling to Utah for a three-game series against the Grizzlies that opens Thursday at 4:45 p.m. AT. All regular season games are broadcast live on Alaska's flagship station, AM 750 KFQD, with coverage beginning 15 minutes prior to face-off.
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