Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tavis MacMillan Inducted into Hall of Fame

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.


Nanook Hockey Blog on Twitter

As we get closer and closer to the 09-10 college hockey season, the teams aren't the only one preparing. During the season, I plan to bring live-blogging coverage through the well-known social networking tool Twitter. The Twitter feed has just been set up today. To follow us, simply head to our profile, and if you are logged in, you can click the 'Follow' button to receive updates. I will make updates to the feed as new blog entries are posted, new events occur that may not be worth an entire blog entry, and the hockey game live blog for those of us that can't make it to the games.

Twitter makes it easy for those that may have to work during the game that can't listen to it on the radio or online. You can get twitter on your phone very easily. There are many applications available for the iPhone, BlackBerry, etc, but for those of us not using these new-fangled smart phones, you can configure Twitter to send you text messages for every update.

For those that are already Twitter fiends, feel free to chat with us about all things Nanook Hockey!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Jared Linnell Commits...verbally

North Pole offensive stud Jared Linnell says he want's to follow in his dad's footsteps. The junior Patriot has apparently been on the phone with some of the folks in the UAF Athletic Department, as well as some media outlets. The descendant of former Nanook Derek Linnell was the top scorer for North Pole last season, boasting 53 points from 16 goals and 37 assists. Not too shabby. The high schooler was selected in the futures draft byCedar Rapids of the USHL back in early May. Will he decide to forgo juniors, and head straight into D-1 hockey? Probably. But the 5' 10" 160lb forward has a lot of work to do.

He's slated to attend a few skate camps this summer, including the Lions camp, as well as the the Fairbanks Ice Dogs camp. All the opportunities that come his way, he should take advantage. I've seen him skate, and he is definitely pretty quick on his feet for being 16 years old. He's got two more seasons with the Patriots, and I'm pretty anxious to see this kid take off. Props for staying and helping out the home team.
So I didn't want to make a separate post about this, but this, at least deserves to be a nice footnote. So here is the would-be headline: Ex-UAA commit Spencer Bennett stuck it to Coach Shyiak and the UAA "Seawolves" just after the NHL draft. Bennett was selected in the 2009 NHL draft 141st overall by the Calgary Flames, and apparently, decided UAA wasn't good enough after riding the hind end of the WCHA for so long. So he dropped them like a stinky pair of underwear. But rather than sign with the Nanooks, he signed with my former hometown major junior league team, the WHL Portland Winterhawks.

Man, those guys in Anchorage were just getting over John Hill, now this? I love off-season drama...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Where are they now?

A weekly (or slightly longer) segment to pass on information about past UAF Nanooks and their pro career.

Jeff Penner 2007-2008

Only skated one year for the Nanooks. Left in April 2008 after signing an amateur tryout agreement with the Boston Bruins AHL affiliate Providence. His first full year (2008-2009 ) in the professional ranks was a huge success. Played in 80 games for the Bruins and was a +22. The Bruins summer depth chart has him as the 5th defenseman.

AHL Stats 2008-2009

Interview after tough loss in the AHL playoffs