As an Anchorage native, Derek Donald [1988-92] did more than welcome the pressure of playing in front of the hometown fans – he thrived under it.
Aided by his 165 career points, the Seawolf hockey team racked up an 88-49-10 record, capturing three straight NCAA Tournament bids, a pair of Nissan/Jeep Classic titles, and the most victories in any 4-year span of UAA hockey history.
Individually, Donald still holds the Seawolf career records for power-play (29) and short-handed (9) goals, and he ranks among UAA’s all-time top 10 in career goals (74, 4th), assists (91, 7th), and points (4th), plus season lists for goals (22 in 1990-91, t-9th), assists (36 in 1991-92, 3rd) and points (59 in ’91-92, 4th).
But it was the team aspect of the game in which Donald truly excelled. The undersized winger from Service High was on the ice for some of the most historic moments in Seawolf history, delivering game-winning assists in the Nissan/Jeep Classic championship overtime win over British Columbia and in the first game of UAA’s stunning NCAA Tournament upset of Boston College.
As a sophomore, Donald delivered perhaps the most impressive offensive onslaught in school history when he had back-to-back hat tricks against Maine and Ohio State in victories at Sullivan Arena. As a senior he captained the Seawolves to a school-record 27 victories, including 13 in the final 15 games, to clinch yet another playoff berth.
After his collegiate career, Donald attended training camp with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and became a two-time East Coast Hockey League all-star with the Dayton Bombers. He later returned home to join the Anchorage Aces as both a player and executive, helping the franchise transition from an amateur team to the professional West Coast Hockey League, and eventually from the WCHL to the ECHL.
Donald completed his bachelor’s degree in health science from UAA in 1995 and has since gone on to a successful business and real estate career. Although he remains one of the most recognizable faces in Alaska hockey, Donald currently resides in Poulsbo, Wash., children Megan and William.