Friday, August 19, 2016

College hockey at risk in Alaska

The University of Alaska system is facing a huge budget crisis, and on Thursday, a review committee released a set of options to help quell the situation across the board.

When it comes to athletics, none of the possible solutions floated would be good for college hockey at Alaska Fairbanks or Alaska Anchorage, both of which play in the WCHA along with Minnesota State.

Two of the options involve cutting hockey completely from both schools (along with other sports — in one option, all sports), while the other would cut hockey from one of the two campuses with the schools competing as one.

Anchorage hockey coach Matt Thomas told the Alaska Dispatch News he hopes "cooler heads will prevail," however, the Seawolves could help their cause by winning games and drawing fans:

"I know everyone wants us to win — it takes time, and I think we're getting there. It would be a shame for hockey to go away, because if it goes, it's never coming back. I've got a lot of confidence in knowing there is a supportive hockey community here, and we need those people to show their support."

Read more from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner here.


Ryan ______ said...

As harsh as this may sound the elimination of hockey at the Alaska schools might be a blessing in disguise for the WCHA. It would remove one of the most unattractive things for any team looking to join the WCHA. With the very likely possibility of Pacific schools and others seeking to add hockey, the WCHA needs to be as competitive as possible. The other thing that has to be noted is that this would remove two of the worst performing teams from the league. While Alabama-Huntsville finished last in the league this year, teams number 8 and 9 were Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Anchorage.This would allow the WCHA to focus on improving the level of play at UAH, NMU, and LSSU. It would also make the league more geographically compact.

Ryan ______ said...

As harsh as this may sound, the loss of one or both Alaska Schools might be a blessing in disguise for the WCHA. One of the biggest detractors for any team looking to join the WCHA is the travel to Alaska at least twice a year, and with the new tournament format, that number could grow if the Alaska schools manage to gain home ice advantage. Losing both Alaska schools would make the conference more geographically compact, and could is beneficial to travel schedules and would be less intimidating for any school looking to join the WCHA.