ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Dave Shyiak has been hired as the fourth head coach of Alaska-Anchorage in the 26-year history of the program. Shyiak replaces John Hill, who resigned last week to take the assistant coaching position at Minnesota.
“My family and I are extremely excited to have this opportunity. We can’t wait to get to Anchorage to begin building relationships with the team, the staff and the community,” Shyiak said. “My vision and passion for this position remains the same as it was four years ago when I applied — UAA hockey has great potential to grow and have success. John (Hill) has created a very stable foundation and both Jack (Kowal) and Keith’s (Morris) recruiting efforts have resulted in upgrading the talent level. I am particularly grateful to Dr. (Steve) Cobb and the UAA administration for this opportunity. Everyone has treated me first class.”
“Dave’s reputation as both a player and coach is one of a tough, hardworking competitor. I think he’s a great fit for UAA and has the ability to take our program forward,” said Dr. Cobb, the athletic director at UAA. “Dave will be in Anchorage soon to meet with our players and staff and begin laying the groundwork for his tenure as UAA’s next hockey coach. I strongly believe the Seawolves are in good hands.”
Shyiak, who has spent the last three years as the associate head coach at Northern Michigan, and the seven previously as assistant head coach, has played a hand in helping the Wildcats to seven 20-win seasons, six CCHA Super Six tournament berths and one NCAA tournament appearance (1998-99). The Wildcats have averaged over 20 wins a season under Shyiak’s tenure. Shyiak returns to the WCHA, of which NMU was a member during Shyiak’s first three seasons as an assistant and as a player at NMU. He was a co-captain on NMU’s 1991 NCAA Championship team, Shyiak also claimed two WCHA Tournament titles (1989 and 1991) and one WCHA regular-season title (1991).
“I’m extremely happy for Dave and his family,” said NMU head coach Walt Kyle. “This is a big loss for our program — he’s been such a part of NMU hockey, both as a player and as a coach and has done a great job for us. Anchorage is getting a great man who will do an excellent job.”
Shyiak served as the head coach of the North American Select Team in 2000 and 2001, guiding the squad to silver medal finishes both seasons at the World “Junior A” Hockey Tournament.
Prior to his stint at his alma mater, Shyiak was general manager and head coach of the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League (1994-95) and head coach of the Kimberley Dynamiters of the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League (1993-94). He began his coaching career as a student assistant at NMU under Rick Comley in 1992-93. Shyiak was also a finalist for the UAA head coaching position in 2001 when Hill was named the head coach.