Fundraising efforts to save UAA hockey and skiing go online

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 8:11 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The University of Alaska Anchorage hockey and ski teams have begun the road to reinstatement: building fundraising websites.

Both skiing and hockey have to raise two seasons' worth of expenses, one year in cash and one year in firm pledges by February 2021. That means the hockey team has to raise near $3 million and skiing has to come up with $628,000.

The downhill ski team is calling their fundraising campaign the 314 initiative hoping to raise $314,000 this fall along with $314,000 in pledges for next year.

“We are trying to find 314 people who will give a $1,000 [this year], and pledge to give a $1,000 next year,” said UAA head ski coach Sparky Anderson. “In three days we are just over $50,000 in cash and $40,000 in pledges.”

While the Nordic ski team was not eliminated under the approved cuts by the University of Alaska Board of Regents, Anderson stressed if his team cannot compete in all four events, they cannot win a national championship or host an NCAA skiing championship event.

“It’d be like telling the track and field team they can run the 800 [meter] but not the 100 [meter],” Anderson said. “We would like the opportunity to compete with a full team.”

The UAA hockey team is taking a similar approach to its fundraising efforts with a “Save Seawolf Hockey” website that lets fans donate or pledge towards saving the program. The Save Seawolf Hockey Group is made up of boosters, alumni, fans and community members.

“Getting the word out, and try to solicit supporters and donations,” UAA head hockey coach Matt Curley said. “I encourage anyone out there that’s interested in helping to check it out.”

The UAA gymnastics program said it will have a public fundraising initiative soon. All three teams are raising money separately, but UAA athletic director Greg Myford said the athletic department has had staff assist the teams.

“As it relates to gymnastics, ski and hockey, the athletic department certainly is in support of what they accomplish and need to accomplish by February,” Myford said. “We hope they are successful.”

Apart from “Seawolf Giving Day,” an online giving campaign in October, Myford said UAA athletics has no other specific plans to help raise money for the three programs facing elimination.

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