UAF hockey edges out UAA in WCHA preseason polls

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Wednesday the Western Collegiate Hockey Association released its 2019-20 Preseason Media and Coaches’ Poll, UAA hockey was picked to finished last in both. UAF was picked seventh in the coaches’ poll, eighth in the media poll.

Following the release of the polls all WCHA head coaches answered questions over the phone. The conversation surrounding Alaska college hockey was the future of both its programs after news of state funding cuts to the University of Alaska system during the off season.

"It's the million-dollar question, the gorilla in the room, the pink elephant in the room, and right now I don't have an answer one way or the other,” said UAA head coach Matt Curley regarding the stability of his program. “I believe in transparency and honesty. I say that to our kids and their families."

The second-year head coach also discussed Seawolves moving their home rink on campus.

"Something we are extremely excited about,” said Curley. “Hope to muster out a few more home wins given our home ice advantage.”

Curley said he was happy with his incoming recruiting class given the turbulent summer surrounding the team.

“I believe the kids who were willing to stick with us are here for a reason, and I’m expecting them to do some big things for us," said Curley.

As for on the ice, Curley described last year as a big ‘learning curve’ for him and his team. The Seawolves have come in last place the past three seasons in the WCHA, and finished 3-28-3 last season.

Curley said it will be another battle between the pipes for ice time as returning goalies Kristian Stead and Kris Carlson will share time, and senior captain Nolan Nicholas will lead the way on defense.

The big question mark will be UAA’s offense with no returners who scored over 10 points last season, and hope to see more point production from their younger players.

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