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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Alaska Anchorage Head Coach Dave Shyiak

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, December 27 at 1:00 p.m. ET, Alaska Anchorage Head Coach Dave Shyiak pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Seawolves face rival Alaska Fairbanks on December 30 and 31 in the second half of this season's Governor's Cup series.

Dave Shyiak

Dave Shyiak was hired as head coach of the Alaska Anchorage hockey program on June 14, 2005. The fourth head coach in the program's 26-year history, he comes to UAA from Northern Michigan University, where he had been an assistant for 10 seasons, including the past three as the associate head coach.

At NMU, Shyiak helped guide the Wildcats to seven 20-win seasons, six Central Collegiate Hockey Association tournament berths and one NCAA tournament appearance (1998-99). He began his coaching career as a student assistant at NMU under Rick Comley in 1992-93.

A co-captain on NMU's 1991 NCAA Championship team, Shyiak also claimed two WCHA Tournament titles (1989 and 1991) and one WCHA regular-season title (1991) as a player. He earned WCHA All-Academic Team accolades in 1988.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Dave won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, December 27th, and his time will be limited, so feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Welcome to another edition of "Tuesay @ The Rink". As usual, we've got two great chats lined up for you. Kicking things off is Alaska Anchorage Head Coach Dave Shyiak.
Coach Shyiak: Hi, hockey fans. It is great to be here today. I'm ready to answer your questions.

Peter (Madison): What has been the biggest surprise to you coaching in Alaska?
Coach Shyiak: I don't think it has been a surprise, but more of a transition period...adjusting to a new town, new people, new administrative duties, moving your family obvioulsy, and just getting into a new routine. Certainly, it is a huge move when you have to uproot your family, including two young children, from Upper Michigan to Alaska, but it has definitely been a positive move. To help us out, the people in Anchorage have been great. They'll do anything for you and really care about the program.

anchorage: what's the hardest sell to get good player's to come to UAA and play in the WCHA
Coach Shyiak: I think they have to get over the perception of "What is Alaska?" It is a remote area that really hasn't had a tradition of success in a long time. That is the toughest sell. On a positive note, once we get kids up here and they see the city of Anchorage, they seem to love it here and they see how much of a hockey town it really is. And, of course, playing in the WCHA is a great sell, as well.

Al (Anchorage): Your rivalry with Alaska Fairbanks is one of the best in college sports. Do you think it gets lost in the shuffle, though, given the remote location of the two schools?
Coach Shyiak: Nowadays, with computers, you are rinkside, so I don't think so. I think it is ink everywhere. There is a writeup in magazines, on chat sites, etc. I think it is as exposed as any rivalry in college hockey.

Dan (Houghton, MI): Having now coached in both, how would you comapre the NMU-Michigan Tech rivalry with the Anchorage-Fairbanks rivalry?
Coach Shyiak: They are very similar. There is so much intensity in both series. You draw the biggest crowds of the year. No matter where either team is in the standings, it is always a tight matchup. Both rivalries bring out the best in each team.

Henry (Grand Rapids): In Michigan, there is so much local talent that it stocks many programs. What have you found as far as local players in Alaska?
Coach Shyiak: I don't know if a lot of people know this, but the Anchorage Minor Hockey Association is considered one of the biggest in North America. A lot of great players come out of here and go to the National Program, the USHL or the Western Canadian Junior Leagues. Obviously, it is every coaches goal up here to keep the best Alaska kids. On this year's roster, we have ten.

Mario (St. Paul): How big is the competitve hurdle (travel, recruiting) in Alaska as opposed to the other WCHA schools?
Coach Shyiak: I think our guys get used to the travel. We also get direct flights to Minneapolis and Denver now. It is easier for us, with the time changes, to go on the road than it is for other teams to come here. The players that we get from the Junior A leagues are used to traveling all over Western Canada with their bus trips, so that is one less adjustment they have to make.

Vernon (Anchorage): Before the Minnesota series last month, did you do anything special with your team to prepare them for seeing their old coach on the other bench?
Coach Shyiak: No, not really. We just wanted to go in and execute our systems and compete as hard as we could. Obviously, the first night was a write off, the second night, I thought we played well enough to win.

Larry (East Lansing): As you start your head coaching career, what are the keys you learned from the coaches you have served under?
Coach Shyiak: I played under Rick Comley and coached with him as well. He brings a sense of structure, discipline and hard work and I have certainly instilled that in my philosophy and my approach. With Walt Kyle, who has a great background and great resume, I certainly learned a lot from. His NHL experience brings a different dimension to the Xs and Os that I was able to pick up from him. He has developed pros and that is part of my philosophy, too. I want to develop players that go on to a pro career.

Kris (Anchorage): Hey Dave, Just wondering how the Seawolves can start putting up more goals on the board and how the recruiting class for next year will affect the team.
Coach Shyiak: Right now, we are a team that is struggling to score goals. To be quite honest, over the course of 20 games, we are under two goals per game, so that tells me that we are not a team that is going to score more than three goals in a game. We have to learn how to win the tight games, the 3-2 and 2-1 games, be solid on special teams and pick up a power play goal here or there to win games. The majority of the guys on our roster right now were not high numbers guys per se in junior, whereas our recruiting class for next year, all of them are high numbers guys. That alone does not guarantee offensive numbers at the collegiate level, but increases our chances in goal production.

Nate (Calumet, Michigan): What is the biggest difference between the wcha and ccha?
Coach Shyiak: The biggest difference is the cities and venues are on a much bigger scale in the WCHA. Over the course of time, the WCHA has had more NCAA bids and National Champions. The WCHA presents a different type of game because of the number of Olympic sized ice sheets.
CSTV.com Moderator: Coach has to start getting ready for practice, so that is all the time we have with him today.
Coach Shyiak: Thank you for having me. I had a great time.
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us at the top of the hour, when we are joined by the nation's leading scorer, Colorado College forward Brett Sterling. See you at 2:00 Eastern.

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