Alaska sports stars come together to push voting

Carlos Boozer, Trajan Langdon, Ramy Brooks among those urging people to the polls

Posted: Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Some hockey players toil their entire careers and never get a glimpse of the Stanley Cup, the National Hockey League's hallowed prize and the oldest trophy in professional sports.

Alaskan Scott Gomez won it on his first try. What's a 20-year-old kid from East Anchorage supposed to do for an encore?

Make commercials, of course.

Gomez, an All-Star in his first season and the reigning NHL Rookie of the Year with the Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils, filmed a 30-second spot to help Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer's Let's Vote! Alaska campaign targeting voters age 18 to 24.

``We asked Scott to do the spot and he said yes with one stipulation,'' Ulmer said in a press release. ``He explained that he had been very busy these past two years pursuing his hockey career and asked that if he did the spot he wanted to do the right thing. He registered to vote during a break in the filming and he's become a wonderful voting advocate.''

The commercial features Gomez seated in a locker room putting hockey gear on as other players walk past.

``I'm gonna vote,'' Gomez says after citing his accomplishments, ``but first I've gotta register. And you should too.''

Former Juneau-Douglas High School basketball star Carlos Boozer, who just completed his freshman season at Duke University, will also star in a spot. So will Cleveland Cavalier Trajan Langdon and Iditarod musher Ramy Brooks.

Ulmer cited a national study conducted by the National Association of Secretaries of State that reported only 32 percent of those age 18 to 24 voted in the 1996 election. Ulmer said in addition to the television spots, the initiative includes a mailing, an Internet site and a program called Each One Reach One, where service organization members adopt young voters and make sure they get to the polls.

A NHL tradition is for each player of the Stanley Cup winning team to get the cup for a brief time. Thousands of fans welcomed Gomez back to Anchorage on Friday, where he put the Stanley Cup on display for all to see. Gomez visited hospitals, a senior citizens' home and bars with the cup.

Gomez received coast-to-coast media attention last season as the NHL's first Mexican-American player. The former East Anchorage High star led all NHL rookies in scoring last season.

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