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UAA names Matt Shasby seventh head hockey coach in program history

A UAA hockey jersey hanging inside the locker room.
A UAA hockey jersey hanging inside the locker room.(KTUU)
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 1:00 PM AKDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 10:01 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The University of Alaska Anchorage took another step towards relaunching its hockey program next season and named Matt Shasby as the seventh head coach in program history. The former Seawolf defenseman was introduced during a Zoom press conference on Wednesday.

“Outside hearing the potential (birth) of my three children, my wife saying yes to me, it was probably the greatest moment of my life,” Shasby said of the moment he was hired during his introductory press conference.

Shasby grew up playing for Chugiak High School and skated for UAA from 1999 to 2003. He went on to play professionally for the Alaska Aces and won a Kelly Cup with the glacier blue in 2005-06.

Currently, Shasby is a seventh- and eighth-grade social studies teacher at Northern Lights ABC and will transition to his head coaching position over the next couple of weeks. He said his priorities are recruiting and scheduling.

“We have the potential of having maybe the largest freshman class in the history of college hockey, and that’s an exciting thing,” Shasby said.

The 41-year-old coach will need to recruit an entirely new roster of 25 players by next fall and will be looking for experienced players in the transfer portal. He added the importance of reestablishing a recruiting base in Europe as they did in the past along with attracting local talent.

“There will not be a kid that is from Alaska that’s going to slip through my fingers,” Shasby said. “You might tell me ‘no,’ but it’s not going to be easy.”

Under Shasby, the Seawolves will play an independent schedule this year after the Western Collegiate Hockey Association disbanded over the summer. It will be a difficult task since teams have already put together their schedules for next season, but Shasby said potential opponents have already reached out.

The hiring of Shasby gives UAA new life as they attempt to re-establish themselves as college hockey contenders after the program was eliminated in 2020 and reintroduced this fall.

“You know, there may not be a more significant potential underdog story in college hockey,” said Athletic Director Greg Myford. “That’s who we are, you know, let’s not be ashamed of that. Let’s look at the opportunity that that presents.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

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