On Saturday, UAF Athletic Director Forrest Karr announced the 2009 class of The Nanook Hall of Fame. Among five other well-deserved candidates, ex-Nanook Assistant Captain and later Alaska Nanook hockey coach was the sole inductee representing the Alaska Nanook hockey legacy.
Head Coach Tavis MacMillan completed his third season at the helm for the Alaska Nanooks in 2006-07. The Nanooks were 11-22-6 that season, finishing strong in the playoffs with a first round road upset for the third consecutive season. In three seasons with the Nanooks, MacMillan guided the program to three first round road playoff series upsets, the most in the CCHA ever, and a total of nine postseason victories, a feat only equaled by the league's sole 2007 Frozen Four participant and eventual national champion Michigan State. However, the Nanooks' wins were unique in that all nine were upsets over higher-ranked teams that occurred on the road. He compiled a 46-54-15 overall record and 29-43-12 in the CCHA and led the team to excellence on and off the ice by raising the national awareness for the program as a top Division I hockey team.
The 36-year-old Milk River, Alberta native and UAF graduate took over the head coaching reins at the end of the 2003-04 season, succeeding Guy Gadowsky as the sixth head coach in program history. Prior to that, MacMillan served as NCAA compliance coordinator for UAF's athletics department and as assistant coach to Gadowsky for four seasons and Dave Laurion for three seasons. After being named head coach in the spring of 2004, MacMillan hired on two former teammates, Wade Klippenstein and Dallas Ferguson. The Nanooks' all-alumni coaching staff was a first in program history.
During his first two seasons, his teams successfully captured the Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup, by defeating intrastate rivals, the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves in the annual four-game series. In his first season, he led Alaska to the CCHA Super Six Tournament at Joe Louis Arena where they set a program record for post-season finish after defeating Michigan State 3-2 in the third-place game.
MacMillan skated for the Nanooks from 1990 to 1994, amassing 192 points during his career and placing him fourth on Alaska's all-time scoring list. As a senior and assistant captain in 1994, MacMillan shared the NCAA scoring crown with his linemate Dean Fedorchuk and went on to earn Most Valuable Player honors. His 74 points that season were second best amongst Central Collegiate Hockey Association point getters.
MacMillan, who is a U.S. Amateur Scout for the National Hockey League's Atlanta Thrashers, resides in Minneapolis, MN.