ANCHORAGE, A.K. (WWNY) - A little over a week ago, the University of Alaska Anchorage announced that their men’s college hockey program would be eliminated after the 2020-21 season. It came as a blow to Madrid native and former Clarkson player Matt Curley, who took over as head coach of the program in 2018.
Curley says breaking the news to his players was one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do.
“Yeah, that was difficult,” Curley said. “It was a real difficult conversation- not one I envisioned having to have certainly at any point. You know it was very raw in that moment and quite frankly it was pretty brief at that point. You see the disappointment in the guys’ faces. It’s hard not to be angry, upset, heartbroken over that.”
Curley says he is now focusing his attention on the upcoming season, one he hopes will happen in spite of COVID-19. And he wants to find his players new homes when the puck drops for the 2021-22 season.
“We got a good group coming back and I hope to be competitive and give ourselves a chance to have some success,” Curley said.
Curley’s record in two seasons at the helm of the Seawolves is 7-53-10. While he says that mark doesn’t indicate it, he feels the program was in the process of turning things around with some talented players coming into the program.
“But we’ve made a lot of strides. You know this past year, our freshman class- our first recruiting class- ranked in the top 5 nationally in a lot of categories. Points per game, power play goals, game winning goals, team scoring percentage,” Curley said.
One of Curley’s biggest disappointments- a return trip to Potsdam to face the Golden Knights this season was wiped out due to COVID-19.
“It would have been a special thing, but such is life, so it goes, and hopefully I’ll get an opportunity maybe in the future to come back there and be on the bench,” Curley said.
Curley would like to have another chance to run his own program but told 7 News that if the right assistant coaching job at the Division 1 level came along, he would jump at the opportunity to get back behind the bench.