The exodus from the UAA hockey program by players with eligibility remaining apparently continues -- wingers Sam Mellor and Mark Pustin are no longer listed on the team's roster on the athletic department's website.
Their departures follow that of center Eric Scheid, who will return to junior hockey in the U.S. Hockey League.
In the last seven months, six players with eligibility remaining have cut ties with the program -- one of those, center Mitch Bruijsten, was kicked off the team late last season for failing to fulfill academic responsibilities.
Scheid was the team's leading scorer among freshmen last season with 6-9--15 totals in 30 games. The Lincoln Stars report he will return to that club.
Mellor, a touted recruit after a strong junior career in the British Columbia Hockey League, earned 4-5--9 totals in 33 games as a freshman last season. Mellor did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Pustin scored three goals in 15 games as a sophomore last season.
According to the Seawolves' roster online, the team has 18 players returning. That group will be joined in the fall by eight incoming freshmen, according to Chris Heisenberg's recruiting site, to give UAA 26 players -- 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.
In the last four-plus seasons, at least 17 players with eligibility remaining have left UAA's program. Two of them -- center Paul Crowder and defenseman Lee Baldwin -- left to sign professional contracts, but nearly all the rest dropped out of hockey.
All those departures have hampered continuity in a program that has finished last or next-to-last in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association six times in the last seven seasons.
Interest in UAA hockey also has waned in that span. The Seawolves averaged just 3,093 fans per home game at Sullivan Arena last season -- that's paid attendance, not butts in seats -- to mark their lowest average since the 1985-86 season. UAA's attendance has fallen 21 percent in the last six seasons.
UAA lost three players during last season.
Defenseman Wes McLeod, a sophomore, left the team shortly before the holiday break. Junior winger Mickey Spencer was the team's co-leading scorer when he departed at the holiday break. And Bruijsten was tied for the team scoring lead when he was booted off the club in March, just before the WCHA playoffs began.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.