Athlete of the Week: Anchorage Wolverines forward Aiden Westin
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage-born and raised forward Aiden Westin has skated the last two seasons for the Anchorage Wolverines, and is one of 10 Anchorage products featured on the North American Hockey League team this season. Now, Westin has committed to play at the University of Alaska Anchorage with the Seawolves next season.
Westin is having a great season for the Wolverines, racking up 41 points in just 34 games and averaging 1.21 points per game. Add all off that offensive prowess with the fact that he is a local talent and you get what UAA Hockey head coach Matt Shasby calls a perfect fit.
“Just his skill set on the ice is going to be able to allow him to contribute in ways that we desperately need and that’s offensive production,” UAA hockey head coach Matt Shasby said. “I’ve watched him grow up here in Anchorage for 10 years and just watched his game every year continue to take steps in the right direction and we felt as a staff that he is just starting to really round out his game and if he is able to put in some time in the off-season and get a little bit stronger coming in next year he is going to be an impact guy for us.”
However, UAA wasn’t Westin’s first choice. He originally was planning on going to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, but after seeing what the new era of Seawolf hockey looked like, he changed his mind.
“I honestly went to a game and the support they had was awesome,” Westin said. “I’ve got a couple of buddies on the team, so It will be nice to play with them and the coaching staff everyone seems pretty great.”
Westin’s path to this point was anything but straight, leaving Alaska for two years to get more exposure before returning to play for the Wolverines in their inaugural season. Now that Anchorage has an NAHL team and the UAA Seawolves are back in full force after being cut by the university, Westin thinks young Anchorage hockey players will have more options.
“I hope more kids follow kind of my path, like I think Anchorage kids should be trying to stay home with now the Wolverines, and UAA back,” Westin said. “I think it’s a great path for them to take.”
There is no telling if Westin would have committed to the Seawolves if he didn’t play for a high-level junior team in the same city. UAA Hockey head coach Matt Shasby said he has seen his game grow and develop over the years, but nothing can replace actually seeing players in person on a regular basis.
“Being able to just head down to Ben Boeke and watch North American League hockey has been huge to our staff,” Shasby said. “Whether it’s Wolverines players or it’s any team that is in for that weekend it’s a free road trip for us, a free scouting road trip.”
While Westin will be trading the blue, teal, and red-orange for the green and gold next season, he won’t be trading in a once in a lifetime opportunity to play for the team he grew up watching.
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