Seattle Kraken, donors step in to help reinstate University of Alaska Anchorage's hockey program

Matthew Beniers, a Michigan native, was the new Seattle Kraken's No. 2nd overall pick in NHL draft. (1:03).
ANCHORAGE (Alaska) -- Hockey will be returning to University of Alaska Anchorage, after donors including the NHL's newest club, raised more than $3 million after the program was discontinued.

UAA chancellor Sean Parnell stated Tuesday that it was a "great day to be a Seawolf" when the team announced its return to the ice for 2022-23 season. It's our day for celebration of the reinstatement.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, the team will require a year for resurgence after losing its coach and the players over the past 12 months.

The Alaska Board of Regents canceled the program last year. However, they said that it could be saved if supporters raised at least $3 million to cover the cost of two years of operating expenses.

This goal was met Monday by the Save Seawolf Hockey fundraising campaign.

The NHL's Seattle Kraken was one of the 1,140 donors. They contributed approximately $150,000 to the team and others associated with it in order to keep the college program afloat. The Save the Seawolves campaign was also started by the Kraken.

Kathie Bethard chaired the fundraising campaign. They raised money through hosting tournaments, tournaments, golf tournaments, silent bidding, and reaching out at every possible source.

Bethard stated, "It wouldn’t have happened without the hockey community stepping up and believing we can get this done," "Thank you to all who donated from $2 to $250,000."

Alaska Anchorage will need to find players and coaches in the coming year. But it will also need to find rivals. The Western Collegiate Hockey Association was a member of both Alaska Anchorage (and the University of Alaska Fairbanks). It has since disbanded.

Greg Myford, UAA athletic director, stated that "there's still much to be done."

UAA wasn't the only one to experience tough times during the pandemic. Robert Morris University, located just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had its men's- and women's hockey programs cut in May. This was less than two months after Colonials hosted NCAA Men's Frozen Four.

This report was contributed by The Associated Press.