There's a few things we need to talk about. First of all, welcome to "The Greatland". That's what us arrogant Alaskans call the state we live in. I know you think it's "The Last Frontier" but come on, outer space is "The Final Frontier"; so calling Alaska "The Last" is horribly inaccurate.
Most of you rooks don't come from here. You'll find that Anchorage is both similar to where you came from as well as very different. So to get a sense of all that, you should read the 2007 welcome, this 2008 farce, this 2009 welcome, the 2010 letter and last year's effort.
So now that you've read all that, you're up to speed on all my advice and tips ... I'm going to Chicago. For you guys, that only matters cos you won't hear me at the Sully cheering you on. If Alaska is so great then why am I leaving? Oldness and fatness mostly. I first came here in 1978 when I was 17. That makes me 51 now. When I got here I weighed 155. Now I weigh 215.
The reality of all that is that I really don't live the Alaska experience anymore. I never was one to go in for mechanical recreation i.e... boats, snowmachines and 4x4's and never been a winter sports outdoors person at all. And being old and fat doesn't exactly lend itself to hiking and bicycling in the sticks as I once often partook. So it's back to the world for me.
I'll be covering your hockey exploits from what Google says is Three-thousand, five-hundred and Seventy-eight miles away. Thankfully, I'll see every home game on the webcast and should be able to make it to one or two road games. I'm not sure how well all that is going to work out. We'll see. My season is likewise full of the same unknowns as your upcoming season.
There's a few challenges for you guys. The first is that there are 10 upperclassmen skaters whom it's quite unlikely that you'll displace for playing time. After that, there are 6 sophomores who established themselves as likely starters last season. So, if you want to play lots ... you are going to have to impress the staff. Experience tells me that you'll all get your chances to do exactly that. The coaching staff here is fair in that regard.
What that means for some of you is that you'll need to show some patience. Put in the work fellas. Bust your asses in practice and when you get in the lineup ... make something good happen. If and when the staff asks something specific from you ... do it. Do it well and you'll succeed here. And the more you personally succeed, the more the team will do the same.
That's right ... you can be a difference maker here. There's damn good players here already. Guys that know what kind of sacrifice it takes to have success. Two years ago your team beat the Gophers on their home ice in the playoffs to reach the WCHA Final Five. Getting to that tournament is one of the measures of success. There is however one goal which the Seawolves haven't reached since joining the WCHA back in the early 90s. We have never hosted a WCHA playoff series at home. To do so this season will require a minimum of a 6th place finish.
That's not a small accomplishment in a league that has teams with nearly countless NCAA Frozen Four appearances and national championships out the wazoo. This year is the last year to reach that goal. So finish in at least 6th place. Ok? Thanks in advance.
Lastly, by definition you fucking hate UAF. End of story. You're the Yankees, they're the Red Sox. You're Auburn, they're Alabama. You're the Cowboys, they're the Redskins. You're the Oilers, they're the Flames. You're ManU, they're City. Getting the point right? There is no other real rivalry for the Seawolves. Don't fuck it up. Beat them like red-headed step-children.