Sunday Sports: A whirlwind year for Matt Curley

Published: Jun. 27, 2021 at 9:26 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The past year has been one former Clarkson hockey star, Madrid native, and former Alaska-Anchorage men’s hockey coach Matt Curley won’t soon forget. From COVID-19 canceling the Seawolves 2020-21 season, to the school putting the men’s hockey program on the chopping block.

Last summer, the University of Alaska Anchorage announced it was discontinuing the men’s hockey program.

After the announcement, fundraising efforts began to save the hockey program, but left head coach and Madrid native Matt Curley in a precarious situation.

While there is a chance the program may be saved, Curley decided last week to step down from his position, ending his 3 year stay leading the Seawolves program.

”Yeah, you know Rob, it’s- it’s tough. We spent the past 3 years, myself, my staff, really trying to build that up and make it worth something. You know, to kind of put that time and effort and energy into something and to see it, I guess, kind of fall short, it’s kind of a tough blow personally and professionally,” said Curley.

Curley says there were a number of reasons for his decision, including the lack of a rink and league for the Seawolves, but says his main priority was looking out for the best interests of both him and his family.

”If it’s 15 years ago and I’m a young kid just starting out and doing my thing, maybe I stick around a little longer. But as kind of these days and months, weeks ticked by and we kind of got to this point of ‘boy we still got some a little ways to go’ and there’s some other external factors too that kind of factor into this,” said Curley.

While the wins were tough to come by in his tenure with the Seawolves, Curley says there are a number of things he was proud of accomplishing during his time at Alaska Anchorage.

”I’m very proud of the kids that we had that we were able to move on. We had a number of our recruits come in to go to some great schools throughout the country which we’re very proud of. We had other guys have a chance to go on to play pro. We were able to make some headway just in terms of our fans, and being excited about what we were doing up there. So those are the things you can’t measure in numbers so to speak that we’re really proud of,” said Curley.

Curley says while it wasn’t an ideal end to his tenure with the Seawolves, there are a number of things he can take with him from the experience.

”I’m a huge fan of the saying that adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it. I’ve gotten thrown some curveballs before my career, and I’ll tell you this past 12 to 18 months has been a whirlwind of things that I never would have expected as a hockey coach, but with that being said, you know, any experience is good,” said Curley.

Curley’s next stop will be with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL, where he was named head coach this week.

”I’m hopeful that, you know, this opportunity that has been allotted me to prove myself that I can do a good job as a head coach and I’m worthy of more than what maybe we did up in Anchorage and from there maybe have the opportunity to get another crack at the collegiate game or you know maybe pursue that pro route,” said Curley.

While Curley is a great teacher and leader of young men on the ice, he is a outstanding person who should thrive in his new role with the Buccaneers.

In Sunday afternoon baseball from the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, the Watertown Rapids were looking to snap their 2 game losing streak as they hosted Mohawk Valley.

At the top of the first, Mohawk Valley takes the early lead when Tyler Cannon grounds into a double play. Daniel Burnett scores to make it 1-0 Diamond Dawgs.

At the bottom of the first, the Rapids tie it up as Ryan Strollo grounds out to 1st. Dylan Broderick checks in, tying the game at 1 after 1 inning.

At the top of the 2nd, Rapids starter Kyle Caringi in a jam, but he gets Cedric Rose to go down swinging. Mohawk Valley takes this game though, winning 14-10.

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