Senior UAA defenseman Kane Lafranchise is leaving school this week and heading home. My information tells me that Kane was a capable and dedicated student with the necessary abilities to be successful in his studies. He was not able to regain his eligibility to play this semester so in concert with his family and with consultation of all involved he has chosen to leave school. It's important to note that details (which I won't provide here) as to his specific challenges maintaining his playing eligibility give me good reason to express his scholarly attributes.
There are obstacles and difficulties we as humans all face and dealing easily with some of those things isn't an automatic for everyone. By all accounts Kane has always been an excellent and well-liked team player. Please join me in wishing him the best in both his future hockey career and with any other path he chooses.
My experience over the years tells me that the overwhelming majority of Division 1 hockey players reach this level because they are of sound character, have supportive excellent families and of course talent playing the game. I can say without reservation those three things are true in Kane's case.
Kane was one of my favorite players in his first three years with the Seawolves. He chose to come to UAA though some higher profile programs recruited him. Reportedly he fell in love with Anchorage on his first visit. His departure is a unfortunate since he's been unable to see any playing time in his senior year. Before this season began and receiving word on his eligibility, I'd imagined a really successful year for him. Over his career here Kane has matured greatly on the ice and become one the most solid blueliners in the WCHA.
He has a quality set of tools in that he skates very well, keeps his head up in all situations and makes good decisions with the puck. Kane's passing was always sharp and he was responsible in his own end whether playing the body, along the boards or blocking shots in front of the net. The Seawolves most certainly would have benefited from his return.
He departs after playing 97 games in the Green and Gold with 9 goals and 24 assists. Kane was a very disciplined player in his three years with only 20 penalties for 68 total minutes. His first goal as a Seawolf came in his freshman season in a 4-2 win over Minnesota and he finished 7th among WCHA rookie defensemen in points and was named WCHA Rookie of the Week on November 29th. In his sophomore season he scored a game winning goal versus UAF to clinch the Governor's Cup and was named to the WCHA All-Academic team. Last season Kane finished 5th amongst all UAA scorers with 15 points and is currently 23rd all-time on the career goals list for UAA defensemen.
In a time when we see hockey players leave school for a variety of (sometimes negative) reasons I'm happy to say that Kane's departure leaves me a bit sad but at least for all the best reasons. Good luck Kane in your future, we'll miss you.