No doubt by now most people are aware that UAA is about to get a new $109 million sports arena that will house their rising athletic programs. It is long overdue and will accompany the outdated Wells Fargo Sports Complex as a beacon for the prospering Seawolf Athletic Department.
What some people don’t know is that the plans for this new state-of –the-art arena have no plans for installation of a hockey rink.
To some, this is a bit alarming, due to the fact that other than Seawolf gymnastics (which will gain a new practice facility in the arena), hockey is the only Division I program we have.
How is it that one of the largest sources of revenue for the whole UAA athletic department is getting left out in the cold on this one?
It also begs another question: is the hockey program no longer the crown jewel of the department?
Bear in mind, the hockey team doesn’t get the audience it should receive. They have quite a bit going for them that often gets overlooked.
They still play in the top conference in all of college hockey and are unquestionably a program on the rise in the past few years. Their trip to the WCHA Final Five this year won’t be their last for sometime. The caliber of players recruited to adorn the green and gold continues to grow, and the grassroots movement is transitioning into high numbers in the wins column.
Students, and the community as a whole, needs to show that this is truly a hockey town, and get on the bandwagon. Shame on us for constantly not making the effort to attend these games, that even offer free admission for students.
For a program to truly thrive, it needs the support of its community and university. Whether they agree or not, the university has dropped the ball on this one and is selling the hockey program short with the exclusion of a new pond for the hockey team to play on.
The new 6,000-seat arena also may show that the school is putting their main focus on the basketball programs as the face of the athletic department.
There can be no argument that the hoopsters at this school have enjoyed quite a bit of success in the recent past. They are constantly contending for titles on both the men and women’s sides, and are rightfully going to be rewarded when the doors open to their new home in a few years. They will also get to play the Great Alaska Shootout at their new digs instead of the Sullivan Arena.
However, one only has to ask around and they will hear about the glory days that the Seawolf hockey team enjoyed back in the 90’s. The Sully was rocking and UAA hockey was the toughest ticket to come by.
The chance is here again to help take that next step to restoring the hockey team to the upper echelon. Let’s rethink these plans and get them a place to play within the new Seawolf Arena.