University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves
Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska
Conference: Western Collegiate Hockey Association
Colors: Green and Gold
Head Coach: Dave Shyiak
2007-2008 Season: 7-21-8
Key Players: Josh Lunden # 21, Craig Parkinson # 14, Paul Crowder # 20
UAA returns to the ice with experience on their side after only losing one senior defenseman, Luke Beaverson. Craig Parkinson was picked by InsideCollegeHockey.com as a “player to watch” in the 2008-2009 season. Parkinson ranked eighth among scoring freshmen in the WCHA last season with 16 points.
Head coach Dave Shyiak returns with the team to coach for his fourth year at UAA. Last year, Shyiak helped the team to win the Governor’s Cup for the second consecutive year.
“It is good to play teams from other leagues in this tournament because it gives the fans a different flavor of competition,” Shyiak said about the out of conference competition.
University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks
Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska
Conference: Central Collegiate Hockey Association
Colors: Blue and Gold
Head Coach: Dallas Ferguson
2007-2008 Season: 9-21-5
Key Players: Braden Walls # 23, Derek Klassen # 27, Adam Naglich # 15
The rivalry continues between UAA and UAF, which is just what fans are hoping for. “I think the teams match up very well every year because of the rivalry itself,” UAA’s head coach Shyiak said. “The games are always fairly close and fun to watch.”
The Nanooks had an impressive 2007-2008 season and return to the ice this season with important players such as sophomore Dustin Sather, who was chosen as Top Rookie last season, and junior defenseman Dustin Molle, who achieved the Most Dedicated Player award.
New head coach Dallas Ferguson has been assistant coach on the UAF team for four years, during which he helped lead them to beat four number one ranked squads, win two Governor’s Cups and set the program record for road wins in a season with 10.
University of Connecticut Huskies
Hometown: Storrs, Connecticut
Conference: Atlantic Hockey Association
Colors: National Flag Blue and White
Head Coach: Bruce Marshall
2007-2008 Season: 13-21-3
Key Players: Andrew Olson # 23, Sean Erickson # 15, Nick Schneider # 22
Coming into the season with a rather young, but nonetheless experienced team, the Huskies are looking to keep up the top notch effort. Starting his 21st season as head coach, Bruce Marshall has coached the most successful period of UConn men’s hockey with 272 wins and 50 ties. Despite having fifteen freshmen on the team last year, the Huskies still made it to Game 3 in the Quarterfinals and totaled 140 assists.
UConn is also bringing one of Alaska’s own home, sophomore Brad McInnis. McInnis was goaltender for the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League before playing for the Huskies last year.
“If we are going to come this far, we want the guys to be able to have something to talk about not just ‘We went to a hockey rink and stayed in a hotel,'” Coach Marshall said.
Northeastern University Huskies
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Conference: Hockey East Association
Colors: Red and Black
Head Coach: Greg Cronin
2007-2008 Season: 16-18-3
Key Players: Randy Guzior # 13, Louis Liotti # 5, Joe Vitale # 26
The Northeastern Huskies have been picked fourth in their conference in a pre-season poll. They welcome back 20 of 22 letter winners from last year including Joe Vitale who was named Team MVP and Top Rookie Wade Macleod.
When asked about starting their season off in Alaska, head coach Greg Cronin said “I think it’s exciting; we get to play both Alaska teams which is definitely a different dynamic there.”
Northeastern averaged 2.5 goals per game and totaled 158 assists last season.
Coach Cronin tips off his fourth year as the Huskies coach. Cronin led the team to the best season they have had since 2001-2002 last year and is known for his player development abilities.