Brush Christiansen: Time to support UAA hockey team

Special to the Daily NewsJanuary 23, 2014 

First of all, I would like to congratulate UAA hockey coach Matt Thomas and his staff for the outstanding job they have done so far in getting our players' hearts back into the program, and for their success so far this season.

It is nice to see the positive look on our players' faces again and to hear their comments on how much fun they are having.

The one negative comment I hear about our program this season is the lack of fan support.

It has been only a few months since hockey fans were voicing their concerns about the Seawolves hockey program and wanting changes in coaching and in leadership in the athletic department. Since then, UAA hired a new coach, Thomas, who has turned the team around in half a season, and also hired a new athletic director, Keith Hackett.

Keith has shown his desire to turn this program around by listening to fans and attending numerous luncheons with alumni members, and vowing to help get our program back to where 5,000 to 6,000 fans a game are at Sullivan Arena on a regular basis.

The new athletic director has shown that he is supportive of the hockey program in many ways, so the coaching staff is finally able to coach and compete like a Division I team. Where we used to be a last-place team or close to it in a 10- or 12-team league, we are in fourth place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association -- and with fans' help, we could rise to third place this weekend in a home series against Northern Michigan.

Talk to any alumni who played UAA hockey in front of 5,000-6,400 people at Sullivan Arena and they will tell you a lot of our big wins in those years were because of the help from our fans screaming their support. Help Coach Thomas and the boys in this weekend's home games. Let's break the 5,000 mark.

The Seattle Seahawks frequently mention the importance of the 12th Man. UAA needs help from fans, who can be the 21st Man. So let's show up at Sullivan Arena this weekend and make the place ROCK!

Brush Christiansen founded the UAA hockey program, was its head coach for the first 17 seasons, guided the Seawolves to three NCAA tournament berths including a stunning two-game sweep at Boston College in 1991, and in 2002 was inducted into the Seawolf Hall of Fame.

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