The University of Alaska-Anchorage announced on Wednesday that the school will drop their men’s hockey program, along with three other sports, prior to the 2021-2022 season, citing budgetary concerns.
The move, while very sad, comes as no big surprise. The hockey program was on extremely shaky footing between costs of playing in the WCHA and the Alaska state government’s desire to slash their budget. Add in the program’s uncertain future with seven schools leaving the WCHA to form the new CCHA, and the budget issues likely to come from the Covid-induced economic recession, and it was likely going to be all but impossible for them to keep playing as an independent program.
Their geography had always made funding difficult for Alaska-Anchorage, and those financial challenges usually kept the Seawolves near the bottom of the ultra-competitive WCHA in the league’s glory days on the early-2000s. Those problems only grew during college hockey’s western realignment in the early-2010s to the point that the Seawolves were rarely able to field a competitive team.
Still it is sad to see 18 fewer scholarships for college hockey out there, and especially said to see them lost from a program that has the history Alaska-Anchorage had.