32952This past week, the Danbury Whalers organization received horrible news. Danbury Whalers player Aaron Alto, a recent participant in the 2nd Annual Green & White game, and a contracted player for the upcoming season passed away in a tragic work related accident.

Below are the words of Danbury Whalers Head Coach / Director of Hockey Operations Phil Esposito, followed by the obituary from his local paper.

From Phil Esposito…

Aaron’s lively personality and big smile were qualities of his that we came to know quickly during his time in Danbury. When he smiled you couldn’t help but smile with him and because of this we know that all who knew him loved him. Coaching him during the camp he was attentive, hard-working, and willing to do whatever it took for his team to be successful. With many players trying to show off their individual talents, Aaron put his team first and foremost. Our motto in Danbury this season is “Whatever it takes”. Aaron applied this not only to his hockey career but his personal development which is what impressed us most of all about him.

We believed that Aaron was destined for a great hockey career in Danbury. Aaron epitomized Danbury as a hard-working and kind individual who never gave up. We believe the fans of Danbury would have embraced Aaron’s emotion and work ethic as a player and he would have become a Danbury fan favorite.

As a coach, it is not every day that you have to endure a tragic event such as this. I am saddened about the fact that I am not going to be able to teach Aaron not only about professional hockey, but also to become Aaron’s friend. I would have liked to have met his family and I wish to extend an invitation to come out to Danbury this season, if possible. We would love the chance to meet you all and be able to have a chance to always remember Aaron.

On behalf of the entire Danbury Whalers family, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Aaron Alto, a person who was destined for great things and will never be forgotten by anyone who knew him.


Aaron Michael Alto passed away on Saturday, September 24, 2011, as the result of an injury sustained on Thursday, September 22, 2011. Aaron was born on February 6, 1989 to Bud and Sandee Alto in Anchorage.

Aaron graduated from South Anchorage High School in December, 2006. He was a small business owner, an expert snowmachine rider and a great hockey player. Aaron began his hockey career at the age of three and continued playing hockey with the, Alaska North Stars, Chugiak Blue Devils and South Central Wolves. He played two years of junior hockey with the River City Jaguars in Portland Oregon and one year with the Bobcaygeon Bucks in Ontario, Canada. He was dedicated to the sport and worked hard to hone his skills toward the ultimate goal of becoming a professional hockey player, which he achieved this season with the Danbury Whalers in Connecticut.

Aaron’s other passion included snow machining, where he competed for several years in snow cross races with the Alaska Motor Mushers, garnering several 1st place finishes. He enjoyed fishing, flying and spending time at the family cabin at Crystal Lake in Willow.

Aaron’s last success was as an organ donor through Life Alaska saving the lives of numerous individuals. He will be remembered by all of the people whose lives he touched as a strong determined loving young man who was always there to help.

In addition to his parents, Aaron is survived by his sister, Kaitlin Alto of Portland; the love of his life, Kestly Albaugh, grandmother, Adelheid Alto of Los Angeles, Aunts Karen Parker and Susan Peach; Uncles Jeffrey and Michael Nelson, cousins Eugenia, Megan, Shannon, Katherine, William and Hunter . He was preceded in death by his Grandfathers, Victor Alto, and Layton Nelson, Grandmother Phyllis Nelson, and his Uncle Brad Peach.

A celebration of Aaron’s life will be held on Friday, September 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm at the Subway Sports Center in south Anchorage. A gathering will be held in the Blueline Club upstairs following the ceremony. The ice will be available for anyone to skate in remembrance of Aaron until 4:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Life Alaska Donor Services, 235 E. 8th Avenue, Ste 100, Anchorage, AK 99501.

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