Alton High hockey alumni game attracts players from all eras, including NHL player Dakota Mermis and his father, Bil Mermis

EAST ALTON – Flame or Redbird, young or old, Saturday’s Alton High alumni Hockey Game had a little of everything.

Including an NHL player – and his dad.

Dakota Mermis, who played last season for the Minnesota Wild and the team’s American Hockey league affiliate, was one of the former Alton High School hockey players to don the old high school sweater and take part in the game at the East Alton Ice Arena. He skated with his father, Bil Mermis, who was an Alton Flames player and 19769 AHS graduate.

Some 26 skaters, representing the Redbirds as well as their forerunners, the Alton Flames, took part in the event, which served as a fund-raiser for the hockey program. In addition, a former player from the original 1973 Alton Flames team served as a coach.

Mermis, who lives in Godfrey during the offseason, spent last season back and forth between the Wild’s AHL minor league team in Iowa and with the parent club.

Last season was the second season for Mermis with the Minnesota Wild and the Iowa Wild, the team’s AHL farm team. Mermis, a member of the AHS Class of 2012, was the 2012 Telegraph Prep Hockey Player of the Year. Prior to joining the Minnesota Wild, he played for the Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils.

The history of Alton High hockey can be traced to the old Alton Flames hockey team formed in 1973 and coached by Tom Thompson. The Madison/St. Clair High School Hockey League was formed. Later came the current league, the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association.

“The alumni game was a great success,” said Missy Seymour, one of the event organizers. “It was nice to see so many alumni still support the Alton Redbirds Hockey Club.”

Area high school hockey teams are actually club sports and not officially affiliated with the athletic departments of their high schools, so raising money to defray costs is essential.

The alumni skaters were split into Red and White teams. While a running tally of goals wasn’t kept, the final score was.

And while equity was a goal in putting together the rosters, the Red team won going away, 12-1.

Red team goalie Josh Malloy, who played for the Redbirds 1995 team when the MVCHA was formed, turned away all but one shot and teammate Mike Selby scored multiple goals.

In addition to the alumni game, a post-game catered mixer was held, as well as a 50/50 raffle and chuck-the-puck.

John Read, who played goalie for the first Alton Flames team and now lives in San Antonio, Texas, returned for Saturday’s alumni game and served as a coach for the White team.

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