Author: Mark Hoffman

November 21, 2013 Mark Hoffman

Quick trivia question: how many wide receivers have been named NFL Most Valuable Player? Answer: a big, fat zero.
That’s right, not even Jerry Rice, the greatest wideout ever, was able to corral an MVP trophy during his Hall of Fame career. Quarterbacks and running backs have always dominated the award, prompting the follow-up trivia question:

November 5, 2013 Mark Hoffman

The Red Sox clinched the 2013 World Series title last week in Boston, and an entire city collectively rejoiced.

The rest of the country collectively rolled their eyes.

As another classic October unfolded in the baseball universe, I was reminded of something I had known for years: I loathe Red Sox Nation.

October 29, 2013 Mark Hoffman

The Seawolf hockey team is off to a hot start at 3-1, with big wins over #10 Quinnipiac and #12 Denver this year. Co-captain Matt Bailey is pacing the team with four goals heading into Western Collegiate Hockey Association play, and the senior co-captain took a moment to talk to the Northern Light about the Seawolves’ hot start.
TNL: You guys got off to a great start after some major offseason changes. How was this team able to come together so quickly?
Bailey: I think everyone was really excited coming into the season with all the new changes and Coach Matt (Thomas) is just a really motivational guy. It’s a good group of guys, a really close knit group and we’re playing within the system and it’s paying off so far.”

October 15, 2013 Mark Hoffman

No, it’s not time for Santa and Yuletide carols. I actually don’t even know what Yuletide means. But one thing I do know is it’s October, and I’m excited! This is the best time of the year to be a sports fan. Although October is traditionally reserved for baseball postseason excitement, the month is also a reason for fans of every sport to get pumped.

September 17, 2013 Mark Hoffman

Last week, UAA announced the hiring of Keith Hackett as the university’s new athletic director. Hackett joins the Seawolves with 36 years of higher education experience and was most recently the senior associate athletic director for internal affairs at the University of Nevada, Reno.

August 27, 2013 Mark Hoffman

As the Seawolf student body makes its way back to UAA for the 2013 fall semester, they will notice significant progress on the latest addition to the main campus: the under-construction Alaska Airlines Center.

The $109 million project isn’t slated to finish construction until June 2014, but a sneak peek of the arena proved it should be well worth the wait.

June 25, 2013 Mark Hoffman

Game Seven — all that a sports fan can ask for. Even more so than the mighty Super Bowl or a World Cup soccer championship match, Game Seven is the pinnacle of sports excitement. Reaching the championship of a tournament and playing for it all is always going to be a thrilling experience. But Game Seven…

April 3, 2013 Mark Hoffman

As the madness of March basketball subsides, Opening Day signals the start of a long, monotonous baseball season. And I could not be more excited. In just seven short months, teams will be battling it out in the Fall Classic.

March 27, 2013 Mark Hoffman

New Overtimeby Mark Hoffman, contributor

Each generation puts a spin on their version of the ever-evolving high school popularity contest. Currently, the phenomenon has manifested itself in the form of Facebook “likes” and Twitter “followers.”

Stu Woo of the Wall Street Journal recently took the time to tally the votes in the “cool kids” contest and ranked all 122 teams in North America’s four major sports based on the number of Twitter followers for each.

The teams at the top of the standings for each sport probably won’t surprise you:

NBA: LA Lakers (2.98 million followers)

MLB:  NY Yankees (822,000)

NFL: New England Patriots (556,900)

NHL: Montreal Canadiens (369,000)

I don’t think it’s a shock to anyone that the Yankees are the most popular baseball team, or that the recent success of the Patriots has them topping the NFL count.

Where the totals prove interesting, however, is in the overall popularity of each of the leagues in the Twitter-verse.

The Lakers have nearly 3 million followers. That’s more than three times as many as the second-most popular non-NBA sports team, the Yankees. On the whole, the NBA averages 381,372 followers per team compared to the NFL’s average of 245,580.

Why the discrepancy?

The NFL trumps the NBA in ratings and merchandise sales annually. Major League Baseball has a season that seems to last twice as long as any of the other sports (probably because it does).

It’s logical to think the NHL would have an added international boost, but even they are dwarfed in the NBA’s shadow.

I think it’s safe to say this is another example of the NBA’s impact on popular culture.

Over the past three decades, no sport has dictated the style of its fan base quite like the NBA. From the popularity of the name-brand sneakers to the immense Twitter following, the NBA has never struggled to be hip.

In fact, when it comes to technology, the NBA is regularly ahead of the curve. A prime example is NBA’s willingness to embrace the ultimate media outlet, YouTube.

While MLB and the NFL resist allowing their licensed material to be put onto the website, the NBA has always welcomed fans to enjoy their content for free. That in itself has created more interest for the NBA online, and has surely helped bump up their number of League Pass members — a subscription-based account that allows full access to all NBA games.

As every sport grows increasingly reliant on blogs and social media for the up-to-date information, individual NBA players are beginning to phase out the media middleman.

With Twitter as an outlet, most players have taken to breaking their own big stories before any reporter has time to ask for, much less receive, a comment.

Surely the NBA is happy to expand their horizons to the web as they continue to grow their product on the global level. Despite the popularity in North America, even the NBA can’t hang with the numbers international soccer puts up — Futbol Club Barcelona and Real Madrid are followed by more than 7 million Twitter users each.

But the NBA’s global takeover is quietly taking shape.

After amassing more than 1.5 million followers in just two months on Twitter, Kobe Bryant recently announced his intentions to join China’s version of the social media site, Weibo.

Without uttering — er, typing — a word, Bryant has already totaled more than 100,000 followers.

The NBA world domination is a legacy to be continued…

March 18, 2013 Mark Hoffman

Each generation puts a spin on their version of the ever-evolving high school popularity contest. Currently, the phenomenon has manifested itself in the form of Facebook “likes” and Twitter “followers.”

March 5, 2013 Mark Hoffman

The women’s basketball team is getting hot at the right time of year. The Seawolf hoopers (15-8 in Division II play) have rattled off six straight wins and ranked ninth in the NCAA Div. II West Region Women’s Basketball Rankings.

February 23, 2013 Mark Hoffman

The Seawolf men’s basketball team escaped a packed Wells Fargo Center Saturday night with a dramatic, 71-69 victory over the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

February 12, 2013 Mark Hoffman

by Mark Hoffman

The Seawolf men’s basketball team has plenty of time to prepare for its Saturday showdown with in-state rival, UAF Nanooks. Coming off a road trip to Washington, the UAA men only have the Nanooks to prep for this week. The second meeting of the season tips off at 7 p.m. Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Seawolves captured a GNAC road win in the first meeting between the two squads, 65-60, back on Jan. 19. That victory pushed UAA’s advantage against UAF to 50 games over .500 in the all-time rivalry with a 71-21 edge.

The Seawolves hope to ride the hot hand of junior guard Kyle Fossman, who was named the GNAC’s Red Lion co-player of the week earlier this month. He tops the team in scoring this season with 15.8 points per game, good enough for fifth in the GNAC.

Fossman paces a Seawolves offense that leads the conference with 9.8 threes made per contest. The Seawolves accuracy from behind the arc is a result of patience and willingness to share the rock – they also lead the conference with 19.2 assists per game.

The Seawolves’ senior center, Liam Gibcus, also received accolades this month when he was named to the CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District team. The selection honors Gibcus for his academic achievements as well as his strong performance on the court. The 6-foot-10 Aussie owns a 3.80 GPA in civil engineering, averages 11.4 points per game, and leads the team with 6.3 rebounds per contest.

Gibcus, and his all-around game, was a big reason for the victory over the Nanooks in January. He finished with 16 points, six rebounds, and five assists before fouling out in the five-point win.

The Seawolves were also propelled by the play of forward Abebe Demissie, who scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in that match up. The 6-foot-6 senior has been a spark off the bench all season for UAA and is second on the team in rebounds, a major statistical category for the Seawolves.

The play of the big men and the team’s ability to rebound has defined the season thus far – the Seawolves are 9-1 when out-rebounding opponents.

UAA’s second leading scorer, sophomore Teancum Stafford, was out with an injury in the first match up against the Nanooks. He will add his 13.1 points per game and 4.2 boards per game to the rivalry this time around.

The UAF Nanooks are enjoying a bit of resurgence this season, already improving on their 5-23 record from only a year ago. Second-year coach Mick Durham has the Nanooks on pace to finish over .500 for the first time since the 2007 season.

The Nanooks are led in scoring by senior guard, and Juneau-native, Dominique Brinson. He’s averaging 13.2 points per contest. Junior guard Pat Vouet averages 12.2 points per game for the Nanooks and 6-foot-7 forward Stefan Tica averages 9.9 points per game and leads the team with 7.6 rebounds per game.

The Seawolves’ student fan base is also preparing for the great Alaskan rivalry to come to town. Many students and Seawolf fans are planning to tailgate and represent the Seawolves in their green and gold come Saturday.


The Seawolves will be back home Feb. 21 and 23 in bouts against Simon Fraser and Western Washington. Both games tip at 7:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.

February 6, 2013 Mark Hoffman

Hockey is back. Puck fans all across North America rejoiced last month as the NHL ended a lengthy lockout and players returned to the rink. Some of Alaska’s best players returned to their hometown Aces during the break, but a new NHL season means it’s time for an update on the whereabouts of the Last Frontier’s finest: