ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The Alaska Anchorage men’s hockey program may have already played its final game.
The university announced Friday afternoon that its indoor winter sports programs, including men’s hockey, would not compete during their 2020-21 seasons “due to the ongoing health risks and increasing protocol restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The news could signal the end of the Seawolves hockey program. UAA announced in August that the hockey team would fold at the conclusion of the upcoming season.
"I weighed many factors and relied upon the guidance of public health officials to make the very difficult decision that our indoor winter sports teams would not compete this season," UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen said in a news release. "My first priority is the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff. I know this is a disappointment. Our student-athletes have continued to work hard each day in the midst of much uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic. I am proud of the resilience they have shown."
A fundraising effort had previously been launched to keep the program afloat with a goal of raising $1.5 million for the 2021-22 season and a commitment of an additional $1.5 million for 2022-23 by Feb. 15, 2021. Only about $543,000 had been raised as of this week.
Alaska Anchorage’s cancellation leaves the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with nine teams and 16 league games scheduled per team for this season.
The Seawolves were scheduled to open the year Dec. 4-5 at Alaska Fairbanks. Bemidji State was slated to begin league play at home against UAA Jan. 1-2.
WCHA members have until Tuesday, Nov. 17 to notify the league if they intend to opt out of the conference for 2020-21, according to a WCHA news release.