“A second chance doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. In many ways, it is the more difficult thing. Because a second chance means that you have to try harder. You must rise to the challenge without the blind optimism of ignorance.” - Ling Ma
This quote perfectly summarizes the position Seawolf Hockey is in. Following a historic fundraising and reinstatement effort, our Seawolf family knows we are not in the clear. Incredible challenges lie ahead. However, we also know that we can dominate them — if we do it together. We have proven that already.
Thank you to every donor who helped save the University of Alaska Anchorage hockey program. An almost insurmountable task was set before the hockey world of saving the program, a program that has meant so much to the city of Anchorage. The hockey community stepped up to the challenge and displayed all the characteristics that are going to lead us into the next chapter and beyond. You provided the inspiration and embody the motto we will move forward with as we relaunch this impactful hockey program: grit.
As head coach, I am committing the UAA hockey program to doing the exact same, day in and day out, show Seawolf GRIT. We will grind everyday through the tough times and welcome the next challenge. We will be relentless in everything we do as a program — from my staff recruiting the right players, to our players in the classroom and on the ice, nothing will stop us. We will strive to inspire our peers, community and everyone who witnesses our efforts. We will all do it together. We will be a tightknit group who work for each other, and we will do whatever it takes to achieve our goals.
The University of Alaska not only gave the hockey program a second chance, but they gave hopes, dreams and aspirations a home in our community. This is not just a hockey team, it is and will continue to be so much more for our community. It gives young athletes role models to look up to and dream to be one day. I used to go to bed every night wanting to play for the Seawolves and that dream inspired me to work every day on my craft as a hockey player. It also pushed me to be successful in other areas of my life, such as in the classroom. That hope of being a Seawolf guided me right up until the day my dream came true and I donned the green and gold jersey with my name on the back as an official member of the team. Hope, passion and dreams are what was reinstated and they’re why the hockey world fought so hard to save it.
As the next head coach of a program that has been such an important part of my life, I take on this challenge and fully understand the responsibility that comes with it. I want to make sure that everyone who participated in saving this program knows that our staff and players will work to earn the right to call ourselves Seawolves every day. We know that we can’t do it alone. We need the continued support of this great community and alumni more than ever.
We know why we gave, we know the challenges that lie ahead, we know it is worth it.
Matt Shasby was named UAA Men’s Hockey Coach in October 2021. He is an Alaska-born UAA alumnus who played for the Seawolves from 1999-2003.
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