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The Alaska Nanooks men's ice hockey team is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I college ice hockey program that represents the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The Nanooks are a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). They play at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Alaska Nanooks
Alaska Nanooks athletic logo
UniversityUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks
ConferenceWCHA
First season1925–26
Head coachErik Largen
2nd season, 12–21–3 (.375)
Captain(s)TBD
Alternate captain(s)TBD
ArenaCarlson Center
Capacity: 4,595
Surface: 200' x 100'
LocationFairbanks, Alaska
ColorsBlue and Gold[1]
         
NCAA Tournament appearances
1984 (DII), 2010 (vacated)
Conference regular season championships
1988
Current uniform
CCHA-Uniform-UAF.png

HistoryEdit

Early history (1925–1973)Edit

Varsity hockey at Alaska-Fairbanks began in 1925. The team played four games during the inaugural 1925–26 season and finished the season with a 3–1–0 record despite having no coach.[2] The program returned in 1932 and for three additional seasons the team operated without a coach as an independent collegiate program. Alfred Bastress joined the Nanooks in 1937 and became the program's first head coach. Bastress led the Nanooks for four seasons. The team played the 1939–40 season again with no coach and Joe Gerlach coached the team during the 1941–42 season, splitting both games the team played that season. The program was suspended during World War II and returned for the 1949–50 season.

The team went through six coaches through the 1950s before Bill Daltri took over behind the bench in 1960. Daltri led the Nanooks for three seasons, including some of the most successful seasons of the early history of the program. In 1960–61 Daltri's Nanooks finished with a record of 14–2–0 and in the 1961–62 season the team finished 10–1–1.[2] In his final season as head coach Daltri's Nanooks won all 8 games of the 1962–63 season. The program would go through another period of coaching turnovers, going through 9 coaches in a ten-year period from 1963–1973.

Division II era (1973–1985)Edit

Following the 1972–73 season the program moved from an independent NCAA Division I team to NCAA Division II. The team had its ups and downs after the move to Division II, the Nanooks won 14 games in the 1974–75 season after only winning a single game in the 1973–74 season, their first in Division II.[2] Ric Schafer took over as head coach in 1980 and turned the program around from the turmoil of years past. Despite going 1–23–0 and 4–19–0 in his first two seasons, the Nanooks improved with a 17-win season in 1982–83 and back-to-back 20+ win seasons in 1983–84 and 1984–85. The 1984–85 season was Alaska's last season at the NCAA Division II level.[2]

Great West Hockey Conference (1985–1992)Edit

The Nanooks re-joined NCAA Division I in 1985 and with in-state rival Alaska-Anchorage as well as U.S. International University (San Diego) and Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, Arizona) formed the Great West Hockey Conference.[3]

The 1985–86 season marked the return of the Nanooks to NCAA Division I as well as the first season in the history of the program as a member of a conference. Shafer guided the Nanooks to a 17–7–1 overall record and finished the season second in the Great West to U.S. International with a GWHC record of 6–5–1.[4]

Following the 1985–86 season, Northern Arizona dropped their varsity hockey program leaving the Great West with three teams. UAF finished the season with an identical record of the previous season 17–7–1 and finished third in the conference with a GWHC record of 7–9–0.[2][4]

Don Lucia took over as head coach of the program for the 1987–88 season and under Lucia the Nanooks finished first in the Great West with a conference record of 5–3–0 and won the 1988 Great West Hockey Conference Championship.[4] The team also finished the season with an overall record of 21–10–2, just the third 20+ win season in program history.[2]

U.S. International ended their hockey program in 1988 for similar reasons as Northern Arizona. Historically UAF and in-state rival Alaska-Anchorage have had difficulty scheduling opponents due to the large distances between schools and increased travel expenses.[3] All four GWHC schools required opponents to fly in and fly out. To combat scheduling difficulties, especially with out of conference scheduling, NCAA gives the Alaska schools scheduling advantage, games in Alaska don't count against teams' NCAA game limit. This advantage was not given to NAU or USIU, both schools in the Lower 48.[3][5]

Recent history (1992–present)Edit

 
The faceoff of a non-conference game between Alaska and Air Force on October 14, 2006. Alaska won this game by a score of 8 to 4.

Despite the failure of the USIU and NAU hockey programs and the Great West Hockey Conference both Alaska-Fairbanks and Alaska-Anchorage programs continued, returning to independent Division I members. Anchorage later joined the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) in 1994.

Don Lucia continued as head coach of the Nanooks in the 1992–93 season. On January 12, 1992, after four and a half seasons as an independent team following the collapse of the GWHC, Alaska-Fairbanks was accepted into the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) as an affiliate member for the 1993–94 season.[6] In addition to the off-ice success, Lucia led the Nanooks to a program high 23 wins. Lucia left to become head coach of Colorado College and later Minnesota.

Dave Laurion replaced Lucia as head coach in 1993 and guided the Nanooks to a program best 24–13–1.[2] and on May 12, 1994 Alaska Fairbanks became a full member of the CCHA for the 1995–96 season[6][7] Laurion was followed by three coaches over the next nine seasons, Guy Gadowsky for four seasons, Tavis MacMillan for three seasons, followed by a short one season stint from Doc DelCastillo.[8]

Dallas Ferguson became the 25th head coach in program history in 2008 taking over from DelCastillo. Ferguson led the Nanooks to a historic season in his second behind the bench at UAF. The season marked the first-ever NCAA Tournament berth in 2010.[9] UAF received an at-large bid despite losing in the Quarterfinals of the 2010 CCHA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament to Northern Michigan two games to none, losing 4–3 and 5–1.[10] The at-large bid placed the No. 13 ranked Nanooks into the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Massachusetts against No. 1 ranked Boston College in the first round of the tournament.[10] The Eagles ended the Nanooks season in a close game that saw UAF come up short 3–1. Despite the loss one of the highlights of the game was the UAF defense shutting down the high scoring top line of Boston College with the help of freshman goaltender Scott Greenham making 29 saves.[11]

In the summer of 2011, the Big Ten Conference announced intentions to begin sponsoring men's ice hockey in 2013,[12] followed by Miami announcing the formation of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference for 2013 with five other schools breaking from the WCHA.[13] The realignment continued on July 20, 2011, when Northern Michigan was approved for membership in the WCHA beginning with the 2013–2014 season.[14] On August 23, 2011 members of the WCHA and CCHA met in Chicago, Illinois in reaction to the 2011 college hockey realignment.[15] The WCHA then sent invitations to the five remaining CCHA schools. The Nanooks quickly accepted their invitation to join the league for the 2013–14 season, followed by several other CCHA members.[16]

In 2011 administrative officials at Alaska discovered that the school had failed to properly monitor the academic eligibility of several players from multiple sports dating back to 2007. The violations were immediately brought to the attention of the NCAA and an investigation began to determine the size and scope of the failure. In 2014 the NCAA concluded their findings and determined that UAF was 'lacking in institutional control' and had failed to update an 'inadequate compliance system' despite warnings to that effect. The majority of the violations were from players either not declaring a major, not accruing enough credits towards their declared major(s) or junior college transfers failing to meet academic eligibility standards. The school admitted guilt and was required to pay a fine, suspend several scholarships and forfeit all wins and ties in games where ineligible players participated.[17] As a result, the ice hockey program now has 0 wins from 2007–08 through the 2011–12 season and was forced to vacate their lone NCAA tournament appearance in 2010.

Brice Alaska Goal RushEdit

The Brice Alaska Goal Rush is one of two annual ice hockey tournaments (along with the Kendall Hockey Classic) that are traditionally played in the first two weeks of the NCAA Division-I season. The Kendall tournament opens the season, and the Alaska Goal Rush is played in the second week. The tournament is held at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska, and is hosted by University of Alaska-Fairbanks hockey team.

The tournament takes place over two days and follows a round robin format. The hockey team from the University of Alaska-Anchorage is a regular participant and serves as an unofficial co-host, while two guest schools round out the tournament field every year. Each of the Alaska schools plays one game against the guest teams, but do not play against each other. The invitees do not square off either. The first criteria to determine place order are records, and then goal-differential in the event of any ties.

The tournament began in the fall of 2008, and its title is a play on the historical Alaska Gold Rush. Fairbanks has won the tournament four times (most recently in 2013),[18] and Anchorage has won it twice. No guest team has been able to win the crown yet in its six-year history.

Tournament resultsEdit

Year Champion Runner-up 3rd Place 4th Place
2008 Alaska-Anchorage Alaska-Fairbanks Maine Mercyhurst
2009 Alaska-Fairbanks Robert Morris Alaska-Anchorage Rensselaer
2010 Alaska-Fairbanks Union, Colorado College Alaska-Anchorage
2011 Alaska-Anchorage Alaska-Fairbanks Mercyhurst Nebraska-Omaha
2012 Alaska-Fairbanks North Dakota Alaska-Anchorage Merrimack
2013 Alaska-Fairbanks Western Michigan Alaska-Anchorage Denver

Season-by-season resultsEdit

CoachesEdit

Typically, Alaska has not had much luck in keeping their coaches for very long. The program has had 26 different head coaches in 69 seasons from 1925 to 2018 and played six of those years without a bench boss. This is not only the most overall for any Division I hockey team but it is among the lowest average (2.65 years) for any school in any sport. As of 2018 Dallas Ferguson was the longest-tenured coach in the history of the program, serving for 9 seasons.

All-time coaching recordsEdit

As of completion of 2018-19 season[2]

Tenure Coach Years Record Pct.
2018–Present Erik Largen 1 12–21–3 .375
2017–2018 Lance West 1 11–22–3 .347
2008–2017 Dallas Ferguson 9 76–238–18† .256
2007–2008 Doc DelCastillo 1 0–35–0† .000
2004–2007 Tavis MacMillan 3 46–54–15 .465
1999–2004 Guy Gadowsky 5 68–89–22 .441
1993–1999 Dave Laurion 6 80–122–9 .400
1987–1993 Don Lucia 6 99–97–19 .505
1980–1987 Ric Schafer 7 99–82–3 .546
1977–1978 Tim Homan 1 14–3–1 .806
1973–1974 Bob Gaddis 1 1–7–0 .125
1972–1973 Ray Korkiala 1 14–10–1 .580
1971–1972 Gary Weitz 1 6–5–0 .545
1969–1971 Fred Stevenson 2 17–21–2 .450
1967–1969 Jim Perry 2 5–12–0 .294
1966–1967 No Coach 1 1–2–0 .333
1965–1966 Ed Armstrong 1 1–6–0 .143
1964–1965 Jack Peterson 1 5–4–0 .556
1963–1964 Larry Bidlake 1 8–5–0 .615
1960–1963 Bill Daltri 3 32–3–1 .903
1957–1958 Bill Borland 1 2–2–0 .500
1956–1957 Ken Smith 1 1–4–0 .200
1954–1955 Chris Christensen 1 1–3–0 .250
1953–1954 Coach Gilhooley 1 0–4–0 .000
1950–1951 Coach Urick 1 0–6–0 .000
1949–1950 Jim Welsch 1 1–4–0 .200
1940–1941 Joe Gerlach 1 1–1–0 .500
1939–1940 No Coach 1 0–2–1 .167
1935–1939 Alfred Bastress 4 4–6–1 .409
1932–1935 No Coach 3 8–4–10 .591
1925–1926 No Coach 1 3–1–0 .750
Totals 27 coaches 70 seasons 644–868–91 .430

Alaska was retroactively forced to forfeit all wins and ties from 2007–08 through 2011–12 due to player ineligibilities.[17]

PlayersEdit

Current rosterEdit

As of September 9, 2019.[19]

No. S/P/C Player Class Pos Height Weight DoB Hometown Previous team NHL rights
2   Jack Weiss Senior (RS) D 5' 11" (1.8 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1994-05-30 Bloomington, Minnesota Rio Grande Valley (NAHL)
4   Kristaps Jākobsons Freshman D 6' 0" (1.83 m) 202 lb (92 kg) 1996-12-25 Tukums, Latvia Zemgale (LHL)
5   Markuss Komuls Freshman D 5' 10" (1.78 m) 187 lb (85 kg) 1998-01-04 Talsi, Latvia Kenai River (NAHL)
6   Didrik Henbrandt Freshman F 5' 10" (1.78 m) 169 lb (77 kg) 1998-04-10 Linköping, Sweden Minot (NAHL)
7   Garrett Pyke Freshman D 6' 1" (1.85 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1999-08-01 Toronto, Ontario Oakville (OJHL)
8   Jordan Muzzillo Sophomore D 6' 0" (1.83 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1997-03-24 Capron, Illinois Springfield (NAHL)
9   Justin Young Junior F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 184 lb (83 kg) 1997-12-23 Leduc, Alberta Whitecourt (AJHL)
10   Ēriks Žohovs Freshman F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 196 lb (89 kg) 1997-11-26 Riga, Latvia Zemgale (LHL)
11   Steven Jandric Junior F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1997-08-18 Prince George, British Columbia Vernon (BCHL)
12   Caleb Hite Sophomore F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1997-02-11 Grand Blanc, Michigan Fairbanks (NAHL)
13   Filip Fornåå Svensson Freshman F 6' 4" (1.93 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1999-01-05 Linköping, Sweden Linköpings J20 (J20 SuperElit)
14   Brennan Blaszczak Junior F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1996-03-12 Troy, Michigan Springfield (NAHL)
15   Troy Van Tetering Senior F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1997-04-26 Carstairs, Alberta Lloydminster (AJHL)
16   Chase Dubois Freshman F 5' 9" (1.75 m) 160 lb (73 kg) 1998-03-12 Williams Lake, British Columbia West Kelowna (BCHL)
17   Colin Doyle Sophomore F 5' 10" (1.78 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1998-05-12 Campbellford, Ontario Wellington (OJHL)
20   Max Newton Junior F 5' 10" (1.78 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1997-11-14 Vancouver, British Columbia Cowichan Valley (BCHL)
23   Roberts Kaļķis Freshman D 6' 1" (1.85 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1998-12-22 Riga, Latvia Rīga (MHL)
24   James LaDouce Senior F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 213 lb (97 kg) 1995-08-24 Saginaw, Michigan Minot (NAHL)
25   Antti Virtanen Sophomore F 6' 0" (1.83 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1998-03-14 Kittilä, Finland Sioux Falls (USHL)
26   Tyler Cline Senior F 5' 7" (1.7 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1995-09-03 Blaine, Minnesota Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL)
27   Colton Leiter Senior F 6' 2" (1.88 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1996-01-16 Edmonton, Alberta Spruce Grove (AJHL)
28   Kylar Hope Senior F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1995-08-17 Lashburn, Saskatchewan West Kelowna (BCHL)
29   Chris Jandric Sophomore D 5' 11" (1.8 m) 179 lb (81 kg) 1998-10-03 Prince George, British Columbia Vernon (BCHL)
30   Gustavs Dāvis Grigals Sophomore G 6' 2" (1.88 m) 189 lb (86 kg) 1998-07-22 Riga, Latvia Shreveport (NAHL)
31   Emil Gransøe Freshman G 5' 10" (1.78 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1998-09-27 Charlottenlund, Denmark Topeka (NAHL)
32   Tristan Thompson Senior D 5' 9" (1.75 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1997-01-02 Canmore, Alberta Brooks (AJHL)
33   Anton Martinsson Senior G 6' 1" (1.85 m) 178 lb (81 kg) 1995-12-11 Klippan, Sweden Amarillo (NAHL)
36   Kyle Marino Senior F 6' 3" (1.91 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1995-06-01 Niagara Falls, Ontario West Kelowna (BCHL)
37   Logan Coomes Senior F 5' 11" (1.8 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1996-11-06 Northville, Michigan Merrimack (HEA)

Nanooks in the NHLEdit