Three men are in the running to take over the salvaged UAA hockey team, including Matt Shasby, who played for the Seawolves 20 years ago and has long been part of the Anchorage hockey scene as a player and coach.
The other finalists include: Steve Murphy, the head coach of Buffalo State College with roots in Alaska, and Chris Cosentino, the director of a youth hockey group in New York City who was the head coach at New York University for ten years.
The three will appear on online forums over the next week:
Shasby on Wednesday from 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm
Murphy on Thursdays from 4.30pm-5.30pm
Cosentino on Friday from 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm
Whoever gets the job will take on the arduous task of reinstating a program that was eliminated a year ago by the University of Alaska Board of Regents. A massive $3 million fundraiser saved the Seawolves.
[UAA hockey program plans 2022-23 after $3 million fundraising effort]
The new bus will start from scratch with a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2013-14.
The Seawolves didn’t play last season because of the pandemic, and they aren’t playing this season so they can reinvent themselves in time for the 2022-23 season.
UAA does not have players who have all been transferred, graduated or retired from the 2019-20 team. It didn’t have a conference of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, UAA’s longtime home, disbanded as a men’s league after last season. And it has a subpar home track at the Seawolf Sports Complex, an on-campus facility with about 800 seats.
About 25 people applied to replace former coach Matt Curley, who resigned after three seasons after posting a 7-53-10 record in two seasons (UAA played no games in Curleys final season).
Since joining WCHA in 1993-94, UAA has had one winning season. It came in 2013-14 when freshman coach Matt Thomas led the Seawolves to an 18-16-4 finish.
One of those looking to change things up is Shasby, who has long been a part of the Anchorage hockey scene. He played high school hockey at Chugiak High and progressed to a four-year career with UAA, where he was a conference all-league defenseman and member of the all-academic team.
He played professional hockey for six years, four of which with the Alaska Aces. He was a member of the Kelly Cup team from 2006 and retired in 2009.
Shasby is a high school teacher who has coached the junior high school and Anchorage Hockey Association youth teams for many years and is the vice president of player development for the Alaska State Hockey Association. He was active in the Save Seawolf Hockey fundraiser to restore hockey at UAA.
Murphy, a head coach at NCAA Division III Buffalo State, is from Anchorage. He has been the head coach there since 2015, leading the Bengals to five straight playoff spots while setting a record of 73-47-12.
Before that, Murphy was an assistant coach for the Kenai River Brown Bears of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), a league for which he also served as the head referee in 2011-12. His experience in Alaska includes coaching an Alaska All-Stars youth team and playing for the defunct Wasilla Spirit junior hockey team.
Cosentino was the coach at NYU from 2010-20 and was twice named Coach of the Year in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, a competitive, non-scholarly conference of college teams. He played college hockey at Iona College and is currently the hockey director for the New York City Skyliners youth hockey program.