The UAA Seawolves announced earlier today that they will be moving their Hockey team on campus immediately The Seawolves will be playing in the Wells Fargo Sports Complex beginning in the 2019-2020 season.
The move is a response to the potential state budget cuts to the university system. Much like UAF did earlier this year, the school re-evaluated their off-campus venue usage and decided that the best way to secure the longevity of the hockey program would be to move on campus. The Seawolves, who have called the Sullivan Arena home for over 30 years, will be playing their next home games at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex on campus. Seawolf Athletic Director Greg Myford is hoping for an easy move back on campus, saying “We are working hand in hand with the Municipality of Anchorage and Sullivan Arena management to create a smooth transition. Our intent is to play in our on-campus sports complex starting in the fall, while we finalize plans to expand that facility over the next few years.”
The team is already familiar with the arena. All of the coaches' offices are located there, the training areas and locker rooms are up to date, and the team practices there. One immediate concern with their new venue is that it currently only hosts 750 fans. The minimum capacity for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association is 2,500. This is similar to the problems the Alaska Nanooks faced earlier this year when they announced their intention to move back on campus.
UAF decided to wait at least two years before leaving the Carlson Center while two different committees began work on a new on-campus arena. UAA will be moving immediately and then hopes to expand their seating in the coming years. The team did receive a blessing from their conference. WCHA commissioner Bill Robertson released a statement saying:
"The WCHA supports this move and views it as a step towards strengthening the long-term viability of the Alaska Anchorage men's hockey program. UAA athletics officials have assured us that the facility will meet all other WCHA and NCAA requirements for hosting league contests in time for the upcoming season and throughout the renovation process."
After decades of playing in arenas with at least 6,000 seats, both of the Division One Hockey programs in the last frontier will be located on campus by 2022.