Alaska Anchorage blueliner Nicholas, ‘a truly special young man,’ tabbed winner of 2020 Senior CLASS Award

Alaska Anchorage’s Nolan Nicholas was a stalwart on the Seawolves’ back end and also excelled in the classroom and community (photo: UAA Athletics).

Alaska Anchorage defenseman Nolan Nicholas has been selected as the 2019-20 Senior CLASS Award winner.

The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I men’s hockey coaches, national hockey media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in D-I men’s hockey.

Nicholas is the first student-athlete from Alaska Anchorage to win the award.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: classroom, community, character and competition.

“To even appear on a list with such committed students, talented hockey players, and exceptional citizens is truly humbling,” said Nicholas, who served as a team captain and played in all 36 games during the 2019-20 season. “I truly tried every day to put everything I could into my experience as a University of Alaska Anchorage student-athlete. The opportunity gave me lessons in determination, perseverance, dedication and teamwork that I will carry for the rest of my life.

“The experience of playing the game I love, in a place I never in a million years thought I’d ever call home, all while receiving a first-class education, has profoundly impacted me. The support I received along the way from coaches, teammates, friends and family has been instrumental in this achievement, and I am forever indebted.”

Nicholas’ impact with the Seawolves was made immediately after arriving on campus.

As a freshman, he led Alaska Anchorage with 57 blocked shots in 29 games and earned the team’s rookie of the year award. Nicholas was named an alternate captain for both his sophomore and junior seasons while earning a spot on the WCHA All-Academic Team. He was also named a National Strength and Conditioning Association All-American in 2018-19.

As a senior, Nicholas recorded a team-high 63 blocks and was one of just three players to skate in all 36 games, posting two assists.

“A truly special young man, Nolan exemplifies the best in what it means to be a student-athlete and is very deserving of this prestigious award,” said UAA coach Matt Curley. “Representing our school, program, himself and his family with the utmost integrity, he embodies everything this award represents on and off the ice. The meaning of community, classroom, character and competition cannot be defined without making mention of the characteristics and values Nolan possesses. It has been my honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to work with him the past few years and I am proud to see him earn this recognition.”

Nicholas’ 3.84 cumulative grade-point-average exemplifies his dedication and commitment to his criminal justice major and legal studies minor. Enduring long road trips that span thousands of miles from Anchorage, Nicholas is able to excel in the classroom while also displaying his team captain traits both on and off the ice.

Community outreach programs are also an area where Nicholas prides himself. As a member of the on-campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, he helps improve the well-being of his fellow student athletes.

He also served as an ambassador for the University of Alaska Anchorage and is an acting representative for the Athletics Expedited Review Committee. Off campus, Nicholas participates in volunteer events in conjunction with UAA hockey and other youth initiatives to help educate the next generation of hockey fans throughout the community.

“Nolan’s ability to excel in the classroom, on the ice, and in the community should not go unnoticed,” said Senior CLASS Award executive director Erik Miner. “He is a well-rounded ambassador and displays and a daily basis what the Senior CLASS Award represents. His hard work and determination for pursuing excellence are traits that will propel him toward a successful future. We are proud to congratulate Nolan Nicholas and the University of Alaska Anchorage for winning this award.”

Senior CLASS Award First Team All-Americans

Cal Burke, Notre Dame
Hugh McGing, Western Michigan
Cale Morris, Notre Dame
Nolan Nicholas, Alaska Anchorage
Alex Wilkinson, Army West Point

Senior CLASS Award Second Team All-Americans

Devin Brosseau, Clarkson
Haralds Egle, Clarkson
Mitchell Fossier, Maine
Max Humitz, Lake Superior State
Tanner Laczynski, Ohio State