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UAA hockey team adds 7, waits for NCAA decision on Alec Butcher

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: June 28
  • Published June 28

UAA's new hockey coach Thursday announced the addition of an entire lineup, plus one.

Matt Curley's first group of recruits features seven players — four forwards, two defensemen and one goalie.

Of the seven, five initially made their commitment to the Seawolves when Matt Thomas, who was fired at the end of the season, was still the coach.

That group includes Wasilla's Tanner Schachle, who announced in November that he would play for UAA. A forward who spent the last two seasons with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, Schachle is the only Alaskan in the group of newcomers.

Perhaps the biggest prize among the newcomers is a defenseman who played three years at the Maine and has one season of eligibility left.

Malcolm Hayes, who saw limited action after suffering a shoulder injury early in his sophomore season, is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound graduate student who scored four goals and three assists in 54 games for the Black Bears.

Hayes has an interesting connection with the Seawolves. In October 2014, he scored his first collegiate goal against UAA in a game at Maine that ended in a 3-3 tie.

In a press release from UAA, Curley called Hayes "a big, strong player who will bring leadership to our team (through) his prior experiences, aiding in the transition of our freshmen and know-how for our returners."

Depending on a ruling by the NCAA, the Seawolves could boast another veteran, this one a proven scorer, on their 2018-19 roster.

Alec Butcher

The school is waiting to hear whether Alec Butcher, a forward from Anchorage who was one of UAA's most productive players last season, will be granted an additional year of eligibility, sports information director Ian Marks said.

Butcher, who sat out more than a full season after transferring to UAA from Sacred Heart, joined the Seawolves after the semester break. In 16 games he scored eight goals and five assists. He ranked second on the team in goals and fifth in points.

UAA's other new players all come from the junior hockey ranks. They are:

Goaltender Eric Szudor, who played the last three seasons with Fort McMurray of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He posted a 2.80 goals against average, a .909 save percentage and a 57-33-10 record in Fort McMurray.

Defenseman Drayson Pears (6-1, 180), who scored 10 goals and 52 assists in three seasons with the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League.

Defenseman Andrew Lane (5-9, 179), who helped the Shreveport Mudbugs to the North American Hockey League's Robertson Cup last season. In 110 games, he scored six goals and 44 assists.

Forward Zach Court (5-10, 178), who in four seasons of junior hockey scored 116 points in 211 games (39 goals, 77 assists). Court spent the last two seasons with the Merritt Centennials of the BCHL.

Forward Jared Nash (5-11, 185), who in two seasons with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL scored 21 goals and 31 assists in 113 games.

Szudor, Pears, Court and Nash all chose to play at UAA prior when Thomas was the coach.

Lane told mihockey.com that Anchorage made a good impression on him last season when the Mudbugs came to Alaska for games against Fairbanks and the Kenai Brown Bears.

"We flew into Anchorage and the beauty was overwhelming. Just driving around Anchorage I felt like it was the coolest place ever," he told mihockey.com. "I chose Anchorage because of the new coaching staff who I have heard great things about, as well as how incredible the opportunity is to play hockey in Anchorage."

The Seawolves were 4-26-4 last season with seven seniors on the roster, including Butcher.

Among those who departed was goaltender Olivier Mantha, who signed an American Hockey League contract with the Syracuse Crunch after a record-setting college career. Earlier this month Mantha — a Division I first-team academic All-American — announced his retirement from hockey.

UAA begins the season Sept. 28 in Eagle River with an exhibition game against Simon Fraser. The Seawolves will play their season-opening game at Sullivan Arena on Oct. 6 against Colorado College.

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