FAIRBANKS-Today we have a story featuring Nanook hockey but's not the men's WCHA team. The Alaska Women's Hockey Club. That's right there is a women's hockey team up on the hill. They will be doing something that's never been done before and you can witness it this weekend for free.
The Alaska women's hockey club is in its fifth year of existence up at UAF. They play in the women's division two American Collegiate Hockey Association. This weekend they will be hosting the University of Delaware for a pair of games. But this isn't just any ol' hockey series.
The Nanooks and Blue Hens play at 4:30 pm in the Patty Center Ice Arena and 3:00 pm in Carlson Center before the men's team on Saturday for a double header. These will be first ever women's college hockey games in the state of Alaska.
This matchup won't be a gimme for the Nanooks. Alaska is 3-1 on the year and Delaware is 5-10-2 and ranked fourth in the Eastern Region. UAF has faced the Blue Hens twice in national tournaments. Delaware won in 2012 and Alaska won last year. Both were tournament final games.
Why has it taken so long for a women's college hockey game to happen in Alaska?
It comes down to money and geography. The closest opponent for the Nanooks in the ACHA is Minot State in North Dakota and they're over 2500 miles east.
The team gets no funding from the university since it's a club sport and players need sponsors and fund raising to travel and play. The team just received new hockey bags that cost about 1,000 bucks thanks to various donors.
The Alaska women's team which has five Fairbanksans on their roster of 15 hope this historic series will draw more eyes which will lead to more interest and supports for their program.