Alaska Anchorage Hockey
Alaska Anchorage, also known as UAA, has a rich history when it comes to hockey. From national championships to historic upsets, the Seawolves have made a name for themselves in the world of college hockey. Located in the remote and ruggedly beautiful state of Alaska, the UAA hockey program has faced challenges both on and off the ice. But through it all, the Seawolves have persevered and created some truly memorable moments in their program’s history.
In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the most historic upsets and wins in Alaska Anchorage‘s hockey history. From national title games to buzzer-beating goals, these moments have shaped the UAA hockey program and left a lasting impact on both players and fans alike.
The Birth of UAA Hockey
The Alaska Anchorage hockey program was founded in 1979 and quickly became a force to be reckoned with in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). The team’s first season was filled with highs and lows, but one of the most memorable moments came in the form of an upset win over the University of Wisconsin. Despite being a relatively new program, UAA proved that they were a force to be reckoned with, and the team’s future looked bright.
The First NCAA Tournament Appearance
In 1984, the Seawolves made their first appearance in the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament. Led by head coach Brush Christiansen, UAA had a talented lineup that included future NHL players like Dean Larson and Eric Lessard. In the opening round of the tournament, the Seawolves pulled off a huge upset over the defending national champion, University of Wisconsin, with a 5-4 victory in double overtime.
Despite facing top-seeded Michigan State in the next round, the Seawolves put up a valiant effort before eventually falling 4-3. This historic tournament run put UAA on the map and showcased the team’s determination and talent to the rest of the college hockey world.
National Championship Runner-Up
In 1991, the Seawolves made it all the way to the NCAA national championship game, an achievement that seemed unimaginable just a few years earlier. UAA faced a tough opponent in the University of Northern Michigan and despite putting up a good fight, the Seawolves ultimately fell short with a final score of 8-6. The loss was a tough pill to swallow, but it marked the first time a college hockey team from Alaska had ever made it to the championship game.
The following season, the Seawolves once again found themselves in the Frozen Four, but this time, they left with a different outcome. UAA beat Boston University in the opening round of the tournament before facing Michigan in the national semifinals. Although the Seawolves eventually fell to the Wolverines, they proved that they were a formidable team and capable of competing on the national stage.
The Buzzer-Beater Goal
In 2000, UAA faced off against in-state rival, University of Alaska Fairbanks, in a critical game. With the score tied at 2-2 in the final seconds of the third period, a seemingly impossible shot from UAA’s Matt Shasby found its way into the back of the net with just 1.8 seconds remaining on the clock. The goal gave UAA a 3-2 upset win over Fairbanks and is still remembered as one of the most thrilling moments in UAA hockey history.
A Season to Remember
In the 2006-2007 season, the Seawolves had a record-breaking year, setting several program records and achieving their highest national ranking to date. Led by head coach Dave Shyiak, UAA made it all the way to the WCHA Final Five for the first time in program history and beat powerhouse team University of North Dakota in the quarterfinals. Although they lost in the semifinals, this season will always be remembered as one of the best in UAA hockey history.
A New Era
In 2013, the Seawolves made a change in their coaching staff, hiring Matt Thomas as their head coach. Under Thomas’s leadership, the team has seen success both on and off the ice. In the 2017-2018 season, UAA beat number one-ranked St. Cloud State in a thrilling 7-4 upset victory, proving that the Seawolves can still compete with the best teams in the country.
Despite some challenges in recent years, including budget cuts and a restructuring of the WCHA, the UAA hockey program continues to fight and make waves in the college hockey world. From historic upsets to deep runs in the NCAA tournament, the Seawolves have left their mark on the sport and continue to be a source of pride for the state of Alaska.
Alaska Anchorage’s hockey program has faced its fair share of challenges, but through it all, they have created some truly memorable moments in their history. From national championship appearances to buzzer-beating goals, the Seawolves have proven that they are a resilient and talented team, capable of competing with some of the biggest names in college hockey.
As UAA continues to build its program and overcome obstacles, we can only imagine what the future holds for this historic team. But one thing is for sure, with a dedication to the sport and a never-say-die attitude, Alaska Anchorage will always be a force to be reckoned with in the world of college hockey.