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Alaska Coaching Candidates

Alaska looks to be one of the only programs that will be replacing their head coach this season, after Tavis MacMillan stepped down last week. Here's a look at some of the names that could be replacing him behind the bench.

Wade Klippenstein
Klippenstein was an assistant under MacMillan. He played at Fairbanks in the early '90s, so he has the advantage of being an alum. He also has some head coaching experience, coaching the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. He has also played a big role in recruiting for the Nanooks, including helping lure Dion Knelsen away from the WHL.

Dallas Ferguson

Ferguson was MacMillan's other assistant, who was also recommended for the job by MacMillan. He's also a Fairbanks alum. His prior coaching experience isn't as extensive as Klippenstein's though. He's listed as working one year as an assistant for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, and three years as an assistant for the Nanooks.

Brian Renfrew
Renfrew is a Fairbanks native that is currently an assistant coach at Michigan State. His stock is probably at its highest right now after bringing home a national title. He played his college hockey at Western Michigan, but returned to Fairbanks, where he was an assistant for two years. After that, he moved to Northern Michigan for two years, then moved on to Michigan State with Rick Comley. One potential drawback is that Renfrew may be next in line for the job at Michigan State once Rick Comley retires. State's other assistant, Tom Newton, was passed over once by AD Ron Mason, and I don't see him getting hired again, and with Jeff Jackson happy at Notre Dame, Renfrew may be the top candidate for that job. Renfrew may be interested in the Alaska job for some head coaching experience, but would Alaska want to hire a coach that may leave in a couple of years?

Troy Ward
It's no secret that Ward is interested in finding a head coaching job in college hockey. Plus, I'm sure he's got enormous street cred in Fairbanks for trying to screw over Anchorage in the whole Dave Shyiak situation.

Rob Proffitt
Proffitt is coaching the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the NAHL. Coaching a college team would probably be easier, and more stable than running an NAHL franchise. He's done a nice job of getting kids to the D1 level. I'm not sure he has enough experience to take over as a head coach though.

Dean Blais
Not only would Blais make the trains run on time in Fairbanks, he'd also magically make it 70 degrees in January, and win the national title every year. Pro-Blais advocates still insist that Blais is "only a phone call" away from taking another college head coaching job.