Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Seawolves Select Thomas as New Bench Boss

The University of Alaska Anchorage has a new head coach—someone who will be moving just up the West Coast, and is no stranger to the college ranks.

The Seawolves have hired former Rochester of Technology Institute center Matt Thomas, who spent the last 12 seasons in professional hockey, most recently as head coach of the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder. The Thunder, an affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, were the ECHL’s Western Conference champions this season before they fell to the Reading Royals in the Kelly Cup Final.

“I have always admired the sense of community and pride that is associated with Anchorage and the entire state of Alaska and our entire family is excited about the move,” said Thomas at It truly is a ‘hockey state.’ My goal is to bring back the passion for UAA hockey and produce a winner for the community, alumni and our fan base.”

Thomas, from Mississauga, Ont., went 163-127-39 (.555) in 329 games in five campaigns with the Thunder, and was also 34-30 in the ECHL postseason in that span, according to the team’s website. All-time, Thomas fashioned a 342-225-80 mark (.590) in 647 career ECHL regular-season games as head coach of the Thunder, the Fresno Falcons and the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies. He ranks fifth in league regular-season annals in victories, and is sixth in total games coached.

A former assistant coach at the University of Maine from 2000 to 2002, Thomas played at RIT from 1994 to 1998. He helped the Tigers to three NCAA Division III Tournament berths, along with a national runner-up finish his sophomore season. He also helped them to the NCAAs as an assistant coach in 1999.

The Seawolves last posted a winning season in 1993-94, one year after they finished a string of three consecutive NCAA Division I Tournament appearances.

UAA will start play this fall in a revamped WCHA that also includes Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska Fairbanks, Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan.

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