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And This State Will Still Vote Republican in '08

I didn't mention this story when it first came out because to be honest, I wrote it off as a non-story. Alaska-Anchorage coach Dave Shyiak is a Canadian citizen who had a temporary permit to work in the United States. His temporary permit recently expired, and in order to get a permanent working permit, UAA has to prove that there is not a qualified and willing American that could take that job. UAA had to post the job for 30 days. It seemed to be more of an annoying bit of paperwork than anything serious since Shyiak won the people of Anchorage over with his team's performance this season.

But that 30-day public posting recently ended, and it seems that this situation could become more complicated. Five candidates, along with Shyiak himself, applied for the position. The Anchorage Daily News identified two candiates, Troy Ward and Frank Betti. UAA didn't release the other names, but will have to respond to a request from the ADN within 10 days. The UAA Fan Blog isn't happy that other people have applied for the job.

It's a shame that a ton of bureaucracy can outweigh an ounce of common sense like this. Anchorage immigration attorney Rebecca L. Maxey summed it up best in the ADN article with one of the best similes I've heard in a while:
"Navigating modern U.S. immigration law is kind of like working your way through a maze with a Kafka novel as a map"

It's always nice to see our legal system compared to inter-war Germany. But on the bright-side, I don't exactly remember, but didn't The Trial have a pretty happy ending for K.?

The problem, as I see it, is that the law says that they have to give the job to a "qualified" US citizen as opposed to giving it to the "most qualified" person. If it's an issue of who is the most qualified, I think it's no question that Shyiak is the right person. Shyiak was so obviously the top candidate for the job two years ago that even a naive blogger could see that he was the right guy for the job. Prior to his last two year's at UAA, he had been an assistant at a top college program, had a number of great connections in western Canada, and had finished runner-up for a number of jobs, including the UAA a few years prior. I don't think the two known candiates can match that.

But the question is whether Troy Ward, Frank Betti, or any of the other three mystery candidates is qualified to coach a college hockey team. It could be a tough sell for Anchorage to prove that they aren't. It may just come down to what some immigration officer's definition of "qualified" is.

Even if one of the US-born applicants is deemed "qualified," the circumstances of the situation would make him unqualified to effectively coach the team. I can't imagine trying to go out and recruit with the label of being "the guy whose own school thought was unqualified for the job." Nor would he be the most popular guy with the local fans after having usurped the power from a popular coach. Nor would he likely be able to command the respect of his players.

Hopefully they find a way to work through this and Shyiak can stay at UAA. He's done a great job with the Seawolves this year, and has all but erased the memories of last year's last place season, and last summer's controversial release of both assistant coaches, and the transfers of some of the team's older players. He clearly has UAA headed in the right direction and it would be terrible to see them have to make a change.