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Ferguson named head coach of Alaska Nanooks hockey program

Submitted by Jamie Schanback
Phone: 907-474-6807

05/15/08

Photo caption below.
Photo by Paul McCarthy
UAF hockey alumnus and interim head coach Dallas Ferguson has been named the eighth head coach of the Alaska Nanooks men's hockey program.
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University of Alaska Fairbanks athletic director Forrest Karr announced today that Dallas Ferguson has been named the eighth head coach of the Alaska Nanooks men's hockey program. Ferguson served as the interim head coach since the resignation of former head coach Doc DelCastillo in mid-April.

"Dallas has the plan, passion and broad support necessary to provide a foundation that Nanook hockey has been missing," said Karr. "There is simply no convincing reason to not hire an emerging leader that bleeds blue and gold, especially a leader that people have already demonstrated they are ready to follow. Dallas brings integrity, trust, stability, and great coaching ability to the job, and I cannot imagine a better candidate for this position."

"As an alumni and a coach it is obviously a great honor for me to be named the next head coach for the hockey program," Ferguson said. "I want to thank both Forrest and the university for this. I really appreciate their support. This program is very special to me for obvious reasons and I want everyone to know that every last ounce of energy that I have will be put towards this program to make it successful and to make the community, the university and its alumni proud."

This past season, Ferguson completed his fourth year as the Nanooks' assistant coach. He has been a part of Nanook teams that have defeated four No. 1-ranked teams, captured two Alaska Airlines Governor's Cups, finished third at the CCHA Super Six tournament at Joe Louis Arena, won three CCHA first-round playoff series on the road and set a program record with 10 road wins in a season.

The 35-year-old Ferguson has coached 13 Nanooks who have gone on to professional hockey careers, including NHL rearguard Jordan Hendry of the Chicago Blackhawks and, most recently, defenseman Tyler Eckford, who will begin his professional career with the New Jersey Devils organization. The program's only First-Team All-American, Eckford was the team's second leading scorer this season, ranked the top-scoring defenseman for five consecutive weeks and was amongst the national leaders all season long. He also became the first Nanook to earn CCHA First Team All-Conference honors and the CCHA's Best Offensive Defenseman Award.

Not only has Ferguson excelled on the ice, but in recruiting as well. During the late NCAA signing period, Ferguson inked seven recruits, including two talents who led their respective leagues in scoring, Adam Cardwell and Carlo Finucci; a junior hockey conference defenseman of the year, Aaron Gens; and one skater who is native to Alaska, Cody Butcher.

Since his arrival at Alaska in the summer of 2004, Ferguson has steadily climbed the professional ladder. After serving as the Nanooks' second assistant coach from 2004 to 2007, he was named the first assistant coach this season. From 2004 to 2007, Ferguson primarily coached the defensemen and was in charge of the defensive special teams in his first three years. In 2005, Ferguson coached the penalty-killing unit to an impressive 88-percent conversion percentage, the third best in the nation. This season, Ferguson took on more duties as the primary assistant, including a larger role in recruiting.

Prior to his tenure at Alaska, Ferguson spent two years as the assistant coach for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs Junior A hockey team.

As an athlete, Ferguson enjoyed a four-year professional hockey career following his collegiate playing days in Fairbanks. He was a four-year letter-winner for the Nanooks and ranks 21st on Alaska's career scoring list. He finished his career with 104 points and was voted the team's best defenseman in 1996, when he was captain of the Nanooks as a senior. He went on to graduate with a bachelor of business administration degree from UAF in 2000. Ferguson and his wife Tara, have one daughter, Payton, and are expecting their second child this June.