After months of speculation, it has been made official that the Alaska Nanook Hockey team will be staying in the Carlson Center for the 2019-2020 season. However, they will also be looking to move into an arena on campus within the next two years.
The future for the Nanook Hockey venue was brought into question earlier this year as the school prepared for any impending budget cuts to the University System in Governor Mike Dunleavy's proposed budget. These plans included limiting the use of off-campus buildings that were being rented out by the University, including the Carlson Center, which has been the home to Nanook Hockey since 1990. According to the release from Chancellor White, the school has considered moving the team into a modern arena on-campus for years. These plans were expedited when the school learned about the aging of the Carlson Center Ice Plant, which raised questions of reliability moving forward.
If the Arena has any problems next season, the Nanooks will use the Patty Center as a backup option. The Patty Center does not currently meet the WCHA seating expectations, but White said that the school would begin any renovations to meet those specifications if necessary. They are also willing to seek a waiver from the conference to host games there, which has been done on rare occasions in the past.
Two committees will now begin the process of moving the team on-campus permanently. The first will be called the "Nanook Transition Committee", which will consist of six to eight people and will focus the efforts on moving the team on-campus. The second committee will be focusing on setting up a modern on-campus hockey arena.
After playing in the Carlson Center for nearly 30 years, the UAF hockey team will now be transitioning into a new home. Chancellor White said in his statement that the school's main concern was the "long term interest in supporting the Nanooks and our community". The school feels that these short-term and long-term plans are the best options for the team's survival.