State hockey association approves vote of no confidence in UAA athletic director

bbragg@adn.comApril 20, 2013 

  • Meet the finalists

    When the four candidates for the UAA hockey coaching job come to town for interviews, the public will get a chance to meet with them.

    Candidates will meet exclusively with UAA hockey alumni from 6:30-7 p.m. Those meetings will be followed by forums for the general public from 7-7:30 p.m.

    All meetings will be at the Lucy Cuddy Dining Room at UAA.

    The schedule of interviews:

    Monday — Mike Corbett
    Wednesday — Damon Whitten
    Monday, April 29 — Chris Brown
    Wednesday, May 1 — Gary Heenan

— The Alaska State Hockey Association, a group that represents thousands of the state's hockey players, coaches and officials, "resoundingly, quickly and unanimously" approved a vote of no-confidence in UAA athletic director Steve Cobb, its president said Saturday.

In a resolution sent to a range of university and state leaders, the association cited the steady decline of UAA hockey and claimed repeated efforts to reach out to the university's athletic department and hockey coaches have been "systematically met with callous indifference."

The resolution wields no power, but AHSA president Darryl Thompson said it sends a long overdue message at a time when the school is looking for a new coach.

"It's not about the current coaching selection itself," Thompson said. "It's an opportunity to make sure whoever is selected isn't set up for failure by the continued failed leadership of Dr. Steve Cobb.

"... We're trying to send a strong message. What we'd like to accomplish is a change in leadership."

Thompson said there's been talk of such a resolution for a few years, including 2008 when UAA gave coach Dave Shyiak a four-year contract extension in the aftermath of a 7-21-8 season that marked the team's third straight year as the last-place team in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

UAA fired Shyiak last month at the end of his eighth season with the Seawolves. The school plans to bring four finalists to town this week and next week for interviews and meetings with boosters and the general public.

The resolution says the downward spiral of UAA hockey -- which, under Shyiak, saw a 30 percent plummet in attendance and an 80-177-33 record over eight seasons -- has damaged both the university and the city.

"Can't you see, aren't you paying attention, have you gone to the arena, have you seen the crowds?" Thompson said. "Finally someone said, 'It's time to say something. It's time for our voice to be heard.' "

The ASHA represents more than 10,000 players, coaches and officials, "and for every kid, there's two parents who aren't registered," Thompson said. "It's a pretty strong voice."

He said the resolution first went through the association's comp council, which oversees elite-level programs. Then it was presented to the 35-member board of directors.

"We talked for about five minutes, and it was all hands up," Thompson said.

The association has never before issued such a resolution, he said.

It was emailed Saturday to Gov. Sean Parnell, University of Alaska president Patrick Gamble, UAA chancellor Tom Case, Board of Regents chairman Pat Jacobson, state senate president Charlie Huggins and speaker of the house Mike Chenault.


Reach Beth Bragg at or 257-4335.

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