The University of Alabama in Huntsville announced Friday it is immediately discontinuing its men’s hockey program due to financial instability caused by the coronavirus, leaving only nine teams in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
“The uncertainty of our future financial situation requires that we take additional steps to reduce expenses, including cutting some programs and reorganizing some units to create savings from improved efficiencies,” UAH president Darren Dawson and athletic director Cade Smith said in a joint press release.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks and UAH, both members of the WCHA, were scheduled to face off four times in the upcoming season.
The WCHA has scheduled a conference call for next week to rework the conference schedule. Some members of the conference were slated to play four games against the Chargers, while others were scheduled to play only two, causing a discrepancy in the number of games on each team’s schedule.
“We’re going to have to hopefully not make drastic changes to the schedule, but there’s definitely going to have to be some changes where we are hosting another team up in Fairbanks and playing them four times now. And we are going to another place where we were only going to play them twice,” UAF head coach Erik Largen said over the phone on Friday.
If the WCHA adjusts the conference schedule by adding a series between teams that were only going to face off twice and by balancing home and away contests, the Nanooks will add a road series against Bemidji State or Michigan Tech and will add a home series against Ferris State or Northern Michigan.
“It won’t change anything with season tickets or anything like that,” Largen added. “I guess from a fans perspective, nothing is going to change except for they won’t be seeing Huntsville up here this year. They will be seeing another WCHA team instead.”
Erickson, Sayre as
Academic All-District honorees
UAF rifle team sophomore Morgan Erickson and nordic ski team redshirt-senior Tristan Sayre were named to College Sports Information Directors of America’s 2019-20 Academic All-District Men’s At-Large team on Thursday.
CoSIDA’s Academic All-District teams recognize the nation’s athletes with the best combined performance in their sport and in the classroom. CoSIDA lists separate teams for soccer, basketball, cross-country and track and field, baseball, softball, football and women’s volleyball and other athletes are eligible for the At-Large team.
While Erickson still has two years of eligibility remaining with the Nanooks rifle team, the justice administration major has already completed his undergraduate requirements with a 3.98 grade point average.
Sayre, a Civil Engineering major, finished his time at UAF with a 3.92 cumulative GPA and a perfect 4.00 in his graduate studies program.
Erickson and Sayre represent District Eight, which includes the California Collegiate Athletic Association, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and the Pacific West Conference.
The At-Large All-District honorees will advance to the Academic All-America ballot. First-, second- and third-team Academic All-America honorees will be announced in June.
Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMsports.