Ever since the puck dropped for the first time in 1979, Seawolf hockey has been an integral part of the Anchorage community. The Seawolves have been ambassadors for the sport, the university and the state of Alaska. They’ve given the people of Anchorage a team and a university to rally around.
If you build it, they will come
Creating an atmosphere for students and community members will promote on-campus engagement. This expansion will also provide space for youth sports which need indoor ice and field space.
A venue unlike any other
Only one rink in Anchorage has the capacity to hold higher level competition. The Sullivan needs costly repairs and has an Olympic-sized rink, which is not conducive to hosting youth events or high level events.
A place of community
High-end facilities help create a spark for on-campus activity and send a message to students that the University is investing in them. This increases interest and enrollment; strong athletic departments bring attention to the University.
Why its important.
UAA Seawolf Hockey is a staple in Anchorage, helping our community thrive for 48 years, and numerous players have gone on to play professionally in the NHL and European leagues. More importantly, the impact of the program extends far beyond the ice, as many players who came to UAA to play have stayed in Anchorage, becoming leaders in the community such as:
- Small business owners
- Emergency responders – fire fighters and law enforcement officers o Medical professionals
- Teachers, counselors and coaches
- Community leaders
The Seawolves give the community an identity and current players serve as the “front door” to the University of Alaska Anchorage, driving enrollment through their notoriety and exposure.
Why we need it.
While, on the surface, the Sullivan Arena seems like a natural fit for the team, there are several reasons why this is not a viable option. The university wants to draw the community to campus, increasing student enrollment, and nn on-campus venue is what draws students to be active participants in athletic events. Modern developments on campus may also attract new students to the university. The Sullivan Arena is 42 years old and in poor condition. Repairs are estimated at more than $3 million dollars, not including necessary improvements to make it game ready. The Sullivan Arena has an Olympic-size sheet of ice which is not conducive to youth hockey games, regional or national tournaments. COVID and the subsequent emergency measures enacted by the municipality have prevented UAA from using the building for its return 2022-23 season. Thus the need for a new arena is apparent.
An Investment in Alaska
It’s time for Anchorage to invest in a new and exciting facility that will spur the development of hockey, youth activities and recreation in our community. The facility’s annual operating budget will be a revenue generator with aggressive ticket sales and advertising. Our Alaska communities thrive when investments are made to support residents.
The Proposed Facility
The proposed facility will have two sheets of ice. The existing, but improved, sheet of ice, with space for 950 spectators, and a new sheet of ice, a showcase rink, with a 3,000-seat capacity. It will include all the modern-day and fan-expected amenities, including box seats and high-top seating around the upper level of the rink to entice sponsors. There will also be standing-room-only space and an enlarged student area. The arena will feature eight locker rooms with improved functionality to allow for adequate locker rooms needed to host major tournaments. This new arena will not only be suitable for collegiate hockey but also for youth organizations, exhibition games, and international team tournaments as well as adult league and community program use.
The iceplex could be enhanced to include space for other functionality, depending on revenue options. The local curling community is also looking for a place to build a new facility and has started to fundraise. This facility could potentially house six curling lanes. The building may also feature a 200’x80’ indoor turf field, potentially providing full-size football field or
soccer space. This will help address the extreme shortage of indoor space for a variety of sports. This new facility will be a true community center in the heart of the campus.