There’s a reunion touch for a few games of the University of Alaska Fairbanks hockey team’s upcoming season.
The 2019-20 schedule was announced Wednesday in a UAF news release and the Nanooks, of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, are set to play 18 home games at the Carlson Center and 16 road games.
Nanooks home games, unless noted, begin at 7:07 p.m.
“I really like the schedule we have for the upcoming 2019-20 season,” Nanooks head coach Erik Largen said in the release. “We have a good balance in the first and second half, and a very competitive nonconference schedule.
“We will face three tough teams right out of the gate but I think getting those challenges out of the way early on will help us become a better team down the stretch.”
The Carlson Center has been home for the Nanooks since it opened in 1990. However, its ice plant is aging and if the Nanooks aren’t able to play at the Carlson Center this season, the Patty Ice Arena at the UAF campus will be an option.
UAF announced last week a two-year plan to bring hockey back on campus. The planning phase starts this summer.
The Nanooks hockey team’s 2019-20 schedule starts Oct. 5 and 6 with a visit from the Denver University Pioneers, who lost to UMass in a semifinal of the NCAA Division I Frozen Four in Buffalo, New York.
Denver assistant coaches Tavis MacMillan and Dallas Ferguson are former Nanooks players, team captains, assistant coaches and head coaches. Nanooks assistant coach Joe Howe is a former Pioneers assistant coach and hockey operations director.
Denver sophomore forward Kyle Mayhew skated for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs from 2016-18.
Denver head coach David Carle is from Anchorage. He’s the brother of Matt Carle, a former Pioneers defenseman who was the 2006 recipient of the Hobey Baker Award, college hockey’s most prestigious honor, and spent 13 seasons (2005-17) in the National Hockey League with the San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators.
Also, Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky, who was the Nanooks head coach from 1999-2004, welcomes UAF to the Pegula Ice Arena in University Park, Pennsylvania for a nonconference series Oct. 18-19.
Between the Denver and Penn State series, the Nanooks have their WCHA opening series against the Michigan Tech Huskies on Oct. 11 and 12 in Houghton, Michigan.
The Nanooks face the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves in a WCHA and Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup Series on Oct. 25 and 26 at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.
The Nanooks are at home for four of its five weekend series in November. Four of the series also are WCHA contests.
Bemidji State visits the Carlson Center on Nov. 1 and 2, and NCAA Division I independent program Arizona State comes north for a nonconference series Nov. 8-9.
The ASU Sun Devils advanced to the NCAA Tournament in only their third season of varsity hockey. Former Ice Dogs defenseman Jakob Stridsberg (2014-16) is entering his senior season with the Sun Devils and current Ice Dogs forward Jax Murray has committed to Arizona State.
The Nanooks will be in Marquette, Michigan, on Nov. 15-16 for a WCHA series against Northern Michigan, which swept Alaska in a first-round playoff series in March.
The Nanooks return to the Carlson Center on Nov. 22-23 for a Thanksgiving weekend and WCHA series against Ferris State. UAF closes the month with a home series against Michigan Tech on Nov. 29-30.
Alaska plays one conference series in December, facing Bemidji State on Dec. 6-7 at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minnesota.
January features two WCHA series at home and two on the road for the Nanooks.
The Nanooks visit Minnesota State on Jan. 3 and 4 in Mankato, Minnesota. Lake Superior State comes to the Carlson Center on Jan. 10 and 11, and Alaska visits Ferris State on Jan. 17-18 in Big Rapids, Michigan.
Northern Michigan faces off against Alaska on Jan. 24 and 25 at the Carlson Center.
After a bye week, the Nanooks take on Alabama Huntsville in a WCHA series Feb. 7 and 8 at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
WCHA rival Bowling Green State visits the Carlson Center on Feb. 14-15. The Nanooks close the regular season against UAA on Feb. 28-29 for the last two games of this season’s Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup Series.
The WCHA playoffs start March 6-8 with best-of-three quarterfinal series.
The semifinal round, also best-of-three, is slated for march 13-15. The WCHA championship game takes place March 20 at the campus of the conference’s highest seed remaining in the playoffs.
The Nanooks’ schedule also is available at www.nanooks.com.
No dates have been announced for the Nanooks’ preseason Blue-Gold Game at the Patty Ice Arena.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.