Athlete of the Week: UAA hockey’s Max Helgeson
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - His spot on the University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves hockey roster was never a sure thing.
But now that Anchorage’s Max Helgeson has joined his hometown team, he’s taking full advantage of the opportunity. In his first full year of NCAA Division I hockey, the Anchorage native is currently leading the Seawolves in total points.
“I was stick boy, I was filling up water bottles for a couple years, went to almost every game as long as I can make it,” Helgeson said of UAA Hockey.
“It’s amazing, it’s full circle,” said Amy Helgeson, Max’s mom. “I think we took him to his first Seawolf game when he was 2 weeks old and (it was the) first time I had really seen hockey and he loved it from the get-go.”
Helgeson was born in Anchorage and skated for West Anchorage High School before leaving the state to pursue his hockey dreams, saying he was living out of a suitcase for a while. Last season he played for Lindenwood College— playing a half ACHA, half NCAA schedule — but now he is back in the familiar place of Anchorage under a familiar coach.
“I’ve done a private lesson with Max at an off-ice facility when he was 9 years old, so I have been around Max, seen Max, my brother actually coached Max for about five years,” UAA Head Coach Matt Shasby said. “I was on the bench a little bit at West when Max was there winning championships and so I have been able to see Max grow up and play hockey in this town for as long as he can remember playing the game I’m sure.”
Just like the Seawolf hockey team, the second half of the season has been much better to Max than the first half. After a switch from center to left winger, Helgeson turned into a very high-scoring skater, with seven goals and 11 assists in 26 games played this season.
The young player is getting to not only play for the team that he grew up watching, but in front of the people he grew up with.
“My parents are my biggest support system and they have helped me get to where I am and it’s always fun seeing them with a beer in their hands, drinking and cheering us on, so it always puts a smile on my face when I go out there,” Helgeson said. “And if I’m having a bad shift my mom will try and get my attention and tell me to wake up or do something.”
The last chance to catch Helgeson in person is Friday, March 10, and Saturday, March 11, when UAA takes on his former team, Lindenwood, in a two-game series at the Seawolf Sports Complex.
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